What are applications of AIS?

Over the years, more and more uses of this equipment have been found and currently it is being used for :-

  • Collision avoidance
  • Vessel traffic services
  • Aids to navigation with virtual
  • Search and rescue

AIS is used in navigation primarily for collision avoidance. Currently this system is being used as a supplement to other anti-collision aids. It should not be mistaken as an automated collision avoidance system.

AIS  has provided great value addition to VTS operations. In busy waters and harbours , a local Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) controls and monitors ship traffic. The VTS maintains a radar plot on which every ship in the harbour is tracked. In the past, identity of a vessel was established only after receiving a RT report from the ship. This was a time confusing task which was prone to delay and errors because of difficulty in RT communications due to language and accents difficulties. AIS has done away with such RT reports. With AIS, identity as well as various navigational data of the ships is provided digitally on continuous basis.

Using the AIS technology, it is now possible to digitally inject data in a ships radar to create a virtual navigational mark. FOR example, if a navigational buoy has been damaged or drifted away, the shore authorities can now inject a virtual buoy in to ships radars and electronic charts through AIS. Isolated dangers in the middle of the sea, where  buoyage can be uncertain and expensive, virtual  buoyage can provide a rapid and economical solution.

The US Coast Guard plans to replace RACON, with virtual Navigational marks through AIS.

4. SAR
For coordinating marine SAR, it is important to know the position and navigation status of ships in the vicinity of the ship or person in distress. AIS can provide such information without RT communication which can be chaotic in a distress situation. The AIS standard has envisioned its use on SAR Aircraft, and once fitted it will further help in SAR management. To aid SAR vessels and aircraft in locating people in distress a standard for an AIS-SART  is being developed.