AIS: The beginning nof a new era in maritime safety?

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review


    The new functional specifications of a Universals AIS, as approved by the IMO, brings up a whole range of new possibilities when it comes to improving safety of maritime traffic. According to some experts, the Automatic Identification System, of AIS for short, will change the way we look at maritime communication. It may also become the most important safety improving technology since the introduction of the radar. The system works on a dedicated VHF radio frequency on which a communication link is established completely autonomously without user involvement and without the need of a land based station to co-ordinate the radio traffic. This makes the communication services available both shore-to-ship and directly between ships where ever they meet. The underlying technology called STDMA (Self Organised Time Division Multiple Access) uses accurate GPS time as a common time reference for allocating individual transmission time slots. The objective is to incorporate the Universal AIS in SOLAS Chapter 5, making the equipment mandatory on ships fulfilling certain criteria. The Finnish and Swedish Maritime Administrations have been working hard to promote this technology and to make it the new standard internationally. The core function is the basic position report containing identification, position, speed and heading broadcast from each vessel and available to all others within the reach of VHF radio. This message is updated with an interval of a few seconds to produce an accurate and up-to-date traffic image in the VTS or onboard other ships. In addition to the position report a number of other predefined messages have been defined. The possibility to construct new message structures based on free format binary data or text string provides an attractive base for developing totally new services. The AIS, when commonly in use will dramatically improve tracking and surveillance possibilities in VTS, improve the quality of the onboard traffic image and detail of traffic information. Automating routine tasks by means of AIS will decrease communication workload and risk of misunderstanding. All these benefits will in the long run most probably take the overall safety of navigation a great leap forward.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMaritime Research Seminar '99
    Place of PublicationEspoo
    PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
    ISBN (Print)951-38-5275-X
    Publication statusPublished - 2000
    MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
    EventMaritime Research Seminar '99 - Espoo, Finland
    Duration: 17 Mar 199917 Mar 1999

    Publication series

    SeriesVTT Symposium


    SeminarMaritime Research Seminar '99


    Dive into the research topics of 'AIS: The beginning nof a new era in maritime safety?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this