As we enter into 2012, I wanted to share some of my predictions for what I believe the year ahead has in store for Satellite AIS.
1) Satellite AIS, and the exactEarth algorithms, will crack the garbled slot problem for terrestrial base stations.
The technical limitations that have previously hindered detection of AIS-equipped ships in high-traffic areas are:
- the length of the AIS message – multi slot messages are much more likely to be garbled;
- the large number of messages in the antenna footprint (excess reuse of the time slots in the VDL )
2) Satellite AIS will become a pillar of the future GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress Safety System).
The system was designed to increase safety and make it easier to rescue distressed ships, boats and aircraft. By utilizing Satellite AIS, authorities will have a much clearer and global picture for maritime activity. The biggest bonus of including AIS into GMDSS is that every ship becomes a search-and-rescue craft as no special equipment will be required to receive distress messages and locations.
3) The new satellite channels, allocated specifically for satellite detection of AIS, will begin to be used and monitored. Also, Class B vessels will be required to report on these channels.
There is currently a decision pending on proposed frequencies (AIS channels 75 and 76) to initially exclusively broadcast Long Range AIS position reports. The current requirement is for only Class A vessels to report on these channels. However, including all AIS traffic will eventually be required to support GMDSS and other tracking requirements for security and environmental protection. The new satellite AIS channels will becomes known as the AIS Tracking Channels.
4) Satellite AIS and radar fusion will be key to solving small vessel tracking.
Combining Satellite AIS with radar fusion will allow for greater visibility into tracking small vessels across the globe.
Satellite AIS provides the advantage of validating vessels picked up by radar and confirming what type of vessel it is, or that there is a radar target that is not identifying itself as required.