Inland Waterway Safety Advancement: Port of Pittsburgh & CONSUL Join Hands
Aboard its newly refurbished river fleet vessel, the M/V Safety Pledge, CONSOL Energy Inc. (CNX) and the Port of Pittsburgh Commission have unveiled the first wireless broadband network deployed on inland waterways in the United States.
Developed exclusively on Pittsburgh's three rivers over the past several months, this new neutral wireless broadband network, called the Wireless Waterways (WW), will connect proprietary, stove-piped, and stand-alone systems into one "system of systems" to improve the safety, security and efficiency of the inland waterways and the thousands of vessels that navigate them every day. The WW is comprised of an interconnected network of physical devices and applications useful in river commerce and security and will integrate real-time navigation information, cargo-tracking, and the operation of waterway sensors.
The Port of Pittsburgh's Wireless Waterways Project, which includes the nation's first ever maritime-focused Interoperability Test Bed (ITB) as well as a pilot for a proposed national broadband network system, was launched in 2012 through grants from Allegheny County, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Port of Pittsburgh Commission.
CONXX Pennsylvania, Inc., a developer of network architecture and infrastructure in Johnstown, constructed the network, which will be available on cellphones, iPads and other wireless devices.
To date, the technology has been installed on CONSOL Energy's M/V Safety Pledge, vessels owned by Campbell Transportation, and the Gateway Clipper. The M/V Safety Pledge is also testing the Wireless Waterways Broadband Network for Quality of Life initiatives to support a follow on application submitted earlier this month for a US Department of Transportation TIGER grant to extend the WW project nationwide.
The Safety Pledge will be used as a testbed for river bed sounding technology, a 3-D camera/software technology and GPS tracking technology. Christened in May, the vessel was also upgraded with a larger galley and living quarters.
With more than 230 employees, 23 boats and 600 barges, CONSOL Energy's River Division prides itself on being a leader in the industry by utilizing the most up-to-date safety equipment and providing its employees with effective and productive training. Year to date, CONSOL Energy River division employees have worked 253,628 hours without lost time injury.