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ExactEarth, SRT to develop tracking technology for small vessels

ABSEA technology enables standard low-powered AIS transmissions to be received by exactEarth satellites

ExactEarth and SRT have concluded a mutually exclusive agreement to develop ABSEA, a technology that will enable global tracking for low-power automatic identification system (AIS) transceivers aboard small commercial and leisure vessels.

AIS is a very high frequency (VHF) technology designed for terrestrial-based tracking with range typically limited to approximately 50 nautical miles. High-powered Class A transceivers are able to be tracked globally by the exactEarth AIS satellite network. However, transmissions from standard Class B and Identifier type devices cannot be reliably tracked from space.

Since May 2013, exactEarth and SRT have been collaborating to develop ABSEA, which enables standard low-powered AIS transmissions to be received by exactEarth satellites. This enables the extended tracking capability of small vessels and the provision of supplementary AIS tracking data to existing terrestrial networks with incomplete or standard coverage limits.

Under the terms of the agreement, SRT and exactEarth jointly own the ABSEA technology and will co-operate to commercialise the tracking data. The first ABSEA-enabled products are expected to be deployed later this year.

“This is a significant strategic agreement for SRT, which enables our AIS Class B and Identifier type transceivers with a unique capability of value in many applications,” says Simon Tucker, SRT CEO.

Peter Mabson, exactEarth President, adds: “We have spent the last five years building the world’s leading satellite AIS network. With the World Wildlife Fund now calling for AIS tracking of all fishing boats worldwide and with an estimated global population of 8 million small vessels, we see a very considerable long-term, sustainable market for ABSEA-based services.”