Nowadays, data is capital information for the safety of all of us. Having the ability to look at vessels from space gives us the ability to foresee, anticipate and correct complex situations. Currently, many satellite constellations provide AIS coverage around the globe and it is foreseen more constellations. Nevertheless, the AIS has suffered from a constant overload of communication, especially near large ports with higher ship density. To alleviate the data strain on the AIS and avoid the saturation of the communication channel, the international maritime community has planned to use the Very High-Frequency Data Exchange System (VDES). This radio communication standard maintains the AIS functions while adding the capacity for larger data exchange. VDES establishes dedicated frequencies for bidirectional communication between ships and coast, allowing the current AIS channel to be maintained intact. With this, VDES aims to reduce the data load on the AIS while adding additional capabilities to the maritime communication network.
LusoSpace is currently developing a constellation of satellites for AIS/VDES communications as a major step in improving maritime communications.