V.S. we don't need a..."AIS monitoring satellites to keep track of ships at sea. With such a system in place, shore-side watch-standers will be able to give you a call on the satellite phone
whenever a ship comes over your horizon." because something better is afoot. The AIS-B system that will give "little boats" the ability (obla-di obla-da obligation?) to broadcast their GPS data over a new AIS channel. In extremely busy areas (English Channel etc.) the "big ship" system will have "right of way" effectively shut down the AIS-B system so that the "big picture" does not risk being too cluttered.
The good news is that out at open sea (and almost all other situations near land) the two system will appear equal. The "big ships" will see the "little boats" with all important information (but less details than AIS-A) and ofcourse, neatly plotted on a AIS screen
, maybe with radar and map overlay. Unlike radars this 2-way AIS system will provide for a allmost fool proof avoidance system for all traveling out at sea.
A small yacht with a AIS-B system will be able to do the same (plot all AIS equipped traffic on a screen) and it will b a heck of a lot more "blips" once the AIS-B system us available.
It will be able to interface with versatile laptop
systems (=cheap!) using GPS navigation software
. The extra "black box" will be able to use existing VHF antenna
for Tx and Rx. The Tx power can probably be less then 5watt and this will be used in very short burst just a few times a minute. The extra power-consumption in terms of continuous drain / per hour will be of no consequence for a ocean-capable yacht - about same as a radio/stereo playing CD music
Extra cost: Initially about $3,000.00 entry, but after 4-5 years probably incorporated with many VHF radios at a $500.00 extra cost and a USB-lead for your portable computer.
Whats the point? Well, a full coverage including all relevant vessels will minimize the dreaded human factor and make a future GPS/AIS based collision
avoidance system virtually automatic.
AIS - wow! Another brilliant concept
from the same Swedish genius that gave the civilized world the Computer Mouse as well as contemporary Computer Graphics! Who can that be?