Call For Project

AIS Transponder for UAV:s

How might we design a marine AIS Transponder with flight control redundancy?

by Fredrik Falkman, SSRS

Subject Operations, Rescue, Search
Status Starting up
Results Working Prototype
Owner Type Rescue organizations

This Call is a part of the Providence Search & Rescue UAV Project.

AIS is the system that helps ships see each others names, positions, courses, speeds, etc. It’s the maritime cousin of aviations’ ADS-B system.

For a UAV participating in maritime Search & Rescue (SAR) there might be several benefit to using AIS:

  • Collision Avoidance Redundancy – Manned SAR airplanes and helicopters usually have AIS transponders on board. AIS could be used as a secondary collision avoidance system besides ADS-B.
  • Search and Rescue coordination – The rescue coordinator at an MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre) as well as the On Scene Coordinator often use a map showing AIS targets as their primary visualization of a SAR operation. Seeing participating UAV:s in the same picture will likely be helpful.
  • Visual direction – If a UAV is first on the scene it could act as dynamic waypoint, showing approaching rescue boats where to go by just following the UAV:s AIS target on the chart display.
  • Situational Awareness – The AIS system allows for extra information (called messages) to be sent. One way to use this would be to let the UAV broadcast the direction in which the onboard camera is looking.
  • Flight Control Redundancy – The extra messages could be used to send commands to the UAV if all other communication were to fail. E.g. a command to loiter or to land.

Here are a few links that might be of interest:

Who is behind the project?

This is a project call from the Innovation office at Swedish Sea Rescue Society, SSRS. The SSRS is a non-profit organization that performs 70% of sea rescues in Sweden thanks to more than 2000 volunteers . Our constitution says that we are to:

  • Further the interest in sea rescue matters
  • Propose ways to improve sea rescue
  • Perform sea rescue operations

The person proposing this project is me, Fredrik Falkman. I’m an industrial designer by training working for the SSRS with development projects and general innovation.


If you have any questions about this project, you can send the project owner a message from here.


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