The automatic identification system (AIS) is an automatic tracking system used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS). When satellites are used to detect AIS signatures, the term Satellite-AIS (S-AIS) is used. AIS information supplements marine radar, which continues to be the primary method of collision avoidance for water transport.[citation needed]

Information provided by AIS equipment, such as unique identification, position, course, and speed, can be displayed on a screen or an ECDIS. AIS is intended to assist a vessel's watch standing officers and allow maritime authorities to track and monitor vessel movements. AIS integrates a standardized VHF transceiver with a positioning system such as a GPS receiver, with other electronic navigation sensors, such as a gyrocompass or rate of turn indicator. Vessels fitted with AIS transceivers can be tracked by AIS base stations located along coast lines or, when out of range of terrestrial networks, through a growing number of satellites that are fitted with special AIS receivers which are capable of de-conflicting a large number of signatures.


Defence and security company Saab - a leading supplier of maritime Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) - now introduces a breakthrough in AIS technology, with the unveiling of its fifthgeneration R5 family of products.

Our new R5 AIS products are the first to incorporate software-defined radio (SDR) transceivers together with newly developed high-speed analog-to-digital converters,” says Gunnar Mangs, Vice President Saab TransponderTech, and continues:
"The result is a dramatic improvement in receiver sensitivity, stability and signal processing."

Saab plans to roll out the new R5 technology in a wide range of AIS products to meet different market requirements, including inland waterways, coastal fishing, deep-sea shipping, military and coastal surveillance. The products will be brought to market in phases during 2011 and 2012.

The SDR technology in the R5 products provides unlimited flexibility in adding new radio channels with software upgrades in the future," says Gunnar Mangs, and adds:
"In addition to VHF ship-to-ship and shore-to-ship AIS messages, the R5 will also be able to process DGPS beacon signals and future satellite AIS messages and e-navigation radio channels."

About Saab TransponderTech

Saab TransponderTech AB, a company in the Saab Group, is recognized as one of the leading suppliers of products and systems related to maritime security, covering the whole range from small individual port solutions to national coastal surveillance networks. Saab was an early pioneer in maritime AIS technology, and has supplied more than 18,000 AIS ship transponders and 2,000 AIS base stations around the world.