The first wireless-broadband network deployed on inland waterways in the United States has launched on the M/V Safety Pledge river fleet vessel in Pittsburgh, PA. The system, called the Wireless Waterways (WW), aims to improve the safety, security, and efficiency of the waterways by connecting proprietary, stove-piped, and standalone systems.

The WW is an interconnected network of physical devices and applications that integrate real-time navigation information, cargo-tracking, and the operating of waterway sensors to be used for river commerce and security. Developed by CONSOL Energy and the Port of Pittsburgh Commission, the system includes the nation’s first maritime-focused Interoperability Test Bed (ITB). That testbed is being used as a pilot for a proposed national broadband network system.

The network also will improve data-collection capabilities for environmental agencies. By enabling the development and use of specialized applications, it will improve information exchange and the efficiency of transportation while enhancing situational awareness. The WW system will be available on cellphones, iPads, and other wireless devices.