Catapult helps develop new AIS Sensor Network Service

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The Satellite Applications Catapult is part of a team, led by exactEarth Europe, that has recently completed the demonstration project for a global maritime machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet-of-things (IOT) platform.

Funded by the European Space Agency (ESA), as part of the ARTES 21 Programme, the project was delivered by OceanWise, TeamSurv, University College London, Pole Star Space Applications, the Catapult and exactEarth Europe, which operates the satellites.

This new innovative M2M/IOT data service is called Automatic Identification System (AIS) Sensor Network Service (A-SeNS). It uses a ship?s existing AIS transceiver to transfer additional data processed via a user’s remote maritime asset – which could be e.g. a navigation aid equipment installed at port, sensors for environmental monitoring on the boat, or ship’s on-board systems data for monitoring and predictive maintenance – via exactEarth Europe?s Satellite AIS (SAT-AIS) constellation. This enables the end-user to access near real-time information using cloud services, collected remotely at sea, for analysis and exploitation.

The Catapult was responsible for implementing an in-house M2M/IOT platform with an embedded PC, sensors and bespoke data handling software, integrated with exactEarth Europe?s processing software in a proof-of-concept (PoC) unit.

The PoC was first demonstrated in the Catapult’s laboratory environment, using actual AIS antennas, as well as in a two-month sea trial involving a boat sailing from the UK to Caribbean, with a successful PoC organised by TeamSurv and implemented by the Catapult and exactEarth Europe.

Stuart Martin, CEO, Satellite Applications Catapult, said: “This project has demonstrated the enormous potential to use AIS as a truly ubiquitous, low-cost IOT communications channel for maritime users, wherever they are in the world. The efficiency and productivity gains that an effective IOT service can deliver are well established, so this technology promises a major breakthrough.”