Ship tracking results from state-of-the-art space-based AIS receiver systems for maritime surveillance

Scientific article 2019
Andreas Nordmo Skauen
Norway currently operates four satellites with Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers. The first-generation satellites, AISSat-1 and AISSat-2, are equipped with a two-channel, single-antenna AIS receiver, while NorSat-1 and NorSat-2 are equipped with an improved AIS receiver capable of decoding on all four AIS channels and using the two antennas installed on the NorSat satellites. This paper aims to investigate the ship tracking performance enhancement realised by the technology improvements of antenna diversification, frequency diversification, and advanced algorithms. The ship tracking capability of the NorSat satellites is presented and shown to yield a significant improvement, up to a 20% point increase, over the first AISSat generation ship tracking capability. A further 20% point increase is achieved in select areas using frequency diversity introduced in the AIS system since the development of the AISSat satellites. In addition, NorSat-1 detected 34% more vessels than AISSat-2 over the same timeframe. The contribution to the performance improvement from the incremental improvements in decoding algorithms, antenna diversity, and frequency diversity is indicated in the results. The results indicate that, in the short term, upgrading to the latest algorithms, low noise electronics, and taking advantage of antenna diversity is the greatest performance enhancer. In the medium and long term, the frequency diversity likely yields the greatest performance enhancement.

Publisher information

Skauen, Andreas Nordmo. Ship tracking results from state-of-the-art space-based AIS receiver systems for maritime surveillance. CEAS Space Journal 2019 s. 1-16

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