The future of AIS

Vesper Marine’s CTO predicts greater integration of AIS systems Credit: Vesper Marine

Industry Database

Vesper Marine’s chief technology officer has outlined trends in automatic identification system technology, predicting further integration across existing systems.

Carl Omundsen expressed confidence in the relatively young system believing it to be of immense benefit to the marine industry.

“AIS is here to stay and there is no question of its safety value,” he said. “The next ten years of AIS evolution and maritime VHF communications innovation will continue to enhance safety at sea,” he added.

He warns, however, that AIS could become a victim of its own success. “The popular benefits and broadening adoption will eventually see the AIS channels become overloaded and that could harm the protocol’s effectiveness at delivering the vessel to vessel safety benefits it set out to during its inception,” said Carl.

AIS was in its infancy a decade ago and it was not until Vesper Marine launched its WatchMate WMX850 in 2020 that an AIS transponder became a standalone system. The AIS protocol has since expanded and now does more than just send and receive messages, instead integrating with the rest of the vessel’s systems and distributing the information it gathers to smartphones, tablets, watches and the cloud.

The future of AIS

Originally complementing existing systems like VHF, DSC and radar, Carl believes it is a it is a natural evolution for these technologies to become more integrated and easier to use. “It’s inevitable that integration into VHF systems like Vesper Marine’s Cortex are natural progressions,” he said.

AIS, VHF voice and DSC will become more tightly integrated into one user experience, he predicts, making for a powerful communications system. “We also predict more interoperability between MFDs and the rest of the boat, with the ability to interact with and control systems from more than one place on board and ashore,” he concluded.

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