The German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Nuremberg-based Weatherdock AG are working on means to create a reliable automatic identification system (AIS) position reporting of vessels in high traffic areas and/or bad transmitting conditions. AIS is mandatory on commercial vessels bigger than 50,000gt since 2006, being a self-organising maritime transponder/receiver radio system that broadcasts relevant trip data (position, heading, vessel call sign, vessel name, etc.) of every vessel through two worldwide standardized VHF frequencies.
Sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the project is an effort to to improve maritime safety with collision avoidance, particularly since its current standard has limits. The updated system will compatible with the existing AIS system and enables, in areas of very high traffic, a solid and secure detection of the needed information.