Kongsberg acquires majority stake in Norwegian startup VAKE

Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT) has acquired a 70 percent majority stake in VAKE, a Norwegian space-startup that delivers maritime domain awareness by using satellite data combined with machine learning.

Since 2018, VAKE has been working on applying Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence (ML/AI) to satellite images to detect and analyze the behavior of vessels, including ships that choose to hide their position, identity, and activity at sea. They have developed Machine Learning (ML) capabilities for several maritime applications which started off by leveraging open data from the European Space Agency and the Copernicus program, and now also offer integration of commercial satellite data into their products and services.

It is said that KSAT has followed the development of VAKE since the company was founded and sees “great opportunities” in joining forces with VAKE to solve the future challenges in maritime domain awareness, offshore asset protection and shipping activity tracking.

"We see this as a great opportunity where KSATs solid experience, extensive market knowledge and position combined with VAKE´s capacities in AI/ML and innovative approach will result in improved services, increased market share in existing markets as well as opportunities in adjacent markets," says KSAT Executive Vice President Strategy and Technology, Arnulf Kjeldsen.

VAKE and KSAT are joint in their view of the importance of AI and ML for satellite imagery analysis and data fusion for future Earth Observation services.

"This was a clear strategic choice for us with the goal of increasing access to satellite sources and reduce the time it takes before insights from satellite data are made available to customers and end users. As a developing company we will also greatly benefit from the expertise and network that KSAT has built up over decades in the space industry, " says Thomas Leira, CEO of VAKE.

The company made the following statement regarding the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR):

“KSAT has perfected the use of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) in combination with other satellite-based data sources, for maritime monitoring services like oil spill detection and vessel detection. KSAT draws from an extensive portfolio of satellites and the company's services are used for decision support by authorities, coastguards, energy companies and other end users worldwide. Information is provided in near-real time via KSATs worldwide ground network consisting of 300+ antennas spread over 28 locations.”

“KSAT is a world-leading provider of satellite data reception with the best global network for downloading and distributing data from satellites. Teaming up with KSAT jointly gives us a competitive advantage and will help in getting to the market positions and opportunities we are targeting internationally much faster," adds Chief Commercial Officer in VAKE, Tugba Gunes.

While KSAT holds majority ownership, VAKE remains as an independent company with the same team, continuing to provide its offerings to the market, but now with the possibility of being integrated into KSAT's deliveries as well.

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