General > What is RIS? > AIS

AIS stands for Automatic Identification System. It is an identification system that automatically transmits information about the name, position, speed and course of a ship. (more information under this text). If a ship is equipped with AIS, data is automatically sent to shore-based installations called AIS base stations.Through AIS you can even automatically exchange data with other vessels in the vicinity AIS has been in use for a long time in maritime shipping. To better respond to the specific needs of inland shipping, an Inland AIS has been developed.

AIS supports and facilitates navigation and increases safety. Thanks to AIS, the infrastructure can be put to better use, traffic stations can be operated more efficiently and shippers and terminals can improve their logistics planning. In this way, AIS strengthens the competitive position of inland navigation.

Approved types and Specialised Firms for Installation
The Central Commission for Navigation on the Rhine (CCR) has established criteria which must be met for the purchase, installation and use of the devices. Since 1 April 2008 only AIS devices that fulfil the test standard can be built-in. The installers must also be recognised by a competent authority. They are listed in the Rhine Vessel Inspection regulations. The current list is on the CCR website: (click ‘Documents that can be downloaded’).

Approved AIS equipment (*)

Type Manufacturer
R4 IAIS Transponder  System Saab TransponderTech
Pro Tec Inland AIS L-3 Communications
NAUTICAST Inland AIS ACR Electronics
VDL 6000?inalnd AIS System C.N.S. Systems
AIS 200 Inland AIS Kongsberg Saetex
FA 150 AIS Transponder Furuno Electric

(*) List from October 2009. For the latest list, see

Automatic Identification System (AIS) is an electronic device that broadcasts its identity and position at regular times to other vessels as well as other information with respect to ship and cargo. The AIS is also able to receive the same sort of information from other vessels. AIS was in the first place a ship- to-ship communication device to display position course over ground and its use was in the first place for collision avoidance. The structure of the messages and the way it was broadcast gave rise to the use of an AIS device on shore where an observer could observe the movements of the vessels in range. This principle is taken by authorities to observe the vessel traffic. Special devices were developed that could not only observe the traffic but also affect the traffic or relate to one vessel in the traffic. This device developed to the so-called base station. In order to obtain a surveillance larger stretches of water than the range of one base station were developed into networks. Apart from the normal messages that are sent at (different) time periods, special message were developed, the so-called binary messages.

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