Development of a local automatic identification system (AIS)

Date of Publication


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Electronics and Communications Engineering

Subject Categories

Systems and Communications


Gokongwei College of Engineering


Electronics And Communications Engg

Thesis Advisor

Gerino P. Mappatao

Defense Panel Chair

Lawrence Y. Materum

Defense Panel Member

Alexander C. Abad
Mark Lorenze D. Torregoza


Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a device that transmits vessel data about speed, course, heading, location, and other important ship information. This device has been around for two decades, and the market for it is still growing. Philippines is a known maritime nation, and its archipelagic nature shows that shipping is the most cost-effective mode of transportation, and serves as the backbone of domestic trade in the country. This results to an increasing maritime traffic and vessels which makes safety and security in the sea a significant matter.

Unfortunately, AIS is still not widely adopted in the Philippines and maritime accidents are still happening and increasing. In addition to that, data for monitoring these AIS-installed vessels is not enough with only 33 AIS receivers around the Philippines and 18 of it are only available 50% most of the time. This results to the lack of systematic data which can be used in analyzing accidents and for other purposes. This thesis aims to develop a Class A AIS that will be locally available and promote the use of AIS in the Philippines.

The AIS is developed by using a development board that will eliminate the need for hardware design and fabrication. However, the software components still need to be developed and must be in line with the ITU recommendation for Class A AIS. The development board contains a microcontroller and AIS data processor that communicates with each other to receive and transmit messages. All of the reception and transmission done by the microcontroller must be stored in the frame map that implements the TDMA scheme defined in the ITU recommendation. A frame is equivalent to one minute that is synchronized to the UTC second, and the frame contains 2250 slots where each slot could be allocated for transmissions. The UTC synchronization is done by using a GPS module that is included in the development board. The transmission decision and schedule of AIS is autonomously done by the SOTDMA algorithm which depends on the ship speed, ship heading, and especially frame map. The AIS must not transmit in allocated slots to prevent transmit collisions, and for high reliability of the system. However, the development board still lack the data interface to receive data from sensor like heading information so this was also developed. In addition to that, a power amplifier is also designed, and fabricated to provide the required 12.5 W of transmit power that the development board could not provide.

The results are gathered from two testing methods. First method is done by using commercial AIS products to confirm whether the transmissions of the prototype are received, and vice versa. It was confirmed that the prototype is able to receive from commercial AIS products shown through its display. On the other hand, the commercial AIS products could also receive from the prototype and was verified through its display, and serial interface connected to the laptop. The second method is about testing the functionality of the AIS in terms of its three modes of operation defined the ITU recommendation. The first mode is the autonomous and continuous operation where the prototype decides its reporting interval depending on the changes in speed over ground, and heading. Next mode is the assigned mode where an authority is present and commands the prototype to follow a specific reporting interval, or transmit in assigned slots. Last mode is the polled operation where the prototype must respond to interrogation, and addressed messages. In the end of second test, the prototype was able to perform the all modes of operation which confirms that the software developed is working as expected.

After testing, the cost analysis is conducted where the cost of components, fabrication, assembly, enclosure, GUI, and operations are calculated for different quantitites. Using conservative approach, and a product price of PHP 60,000, profitability can be achieved even at lower quantity sales. This shows that building a company for selling AIS products is feasible. In addition to that, the market for AIS products in the Philippine has a potential, and vessels in the Philippines is still increasing. As a conclusion, the thesis is successful in developing a Class A AIS, and this provides an opportunity as a local solution to push the adoption of AIS which helps in creating a safer maritime environment in the Philippine maritime industry.

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Physical Description

xv, 111 leaves, illustrations (some color)


Ships—Automatic identification systems—Philippines

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