IALA 2023

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil  29 May 2023

Telespazio UK presented at IALA 2023 from 29 May-3 June, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

VDES-R advanced user technologies for alternative PNT

16:00-17:30, 2 June 2023

By Martin Bransby, Head of Navigation at Telespazio UK

Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) have become the primary marine aid-to-navigation and source of Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) information. Yet, all GNSS are vulnerable to natural interference, deliberate and accidental jamming and spoofing. Maritime trials, and trial in other domains, have demonstrated that degraded GNSS produce hazardously misleading information and erroneous vessel positions without an alarm being raised. As ships’ systems become increasingly digital, with the introduction of a wide range of supporting services and the emergence of autonomous vessels, PNT accuracy, integrity, continuity, and availability become increasingly critical.

Projects have shown that a System-of-Systems approach to the provision of PNT for maritime and other critical infrastructure is preferable to provide resiliency. National Governments, Inter-Governmental Organizations and Multi-National bodies now recognize this System-of-Systems approach.

Having a System-of-Systems approach requires that systems other than GNSS be utilized to provide resiliency. One such system is the Very High Frequency Data Exchange System (VDES). VDES is a new maritime radio communication system in development by the international maritime community, with the principal objectives, to:

  • Safeguard existing Automatic Identification System (AIS) core functions, such as ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship position reporting, preventing future AIS overload; and
  • Enhance maritime communication applications, based on robust and efficient digital data transmission with wider bandwidth than the AIS.

However, at the same time, the international maritime community has been investigating the potential use of these VDES communication signals transmitted from shore-based stations for positioning—a concept commonly referred to as ‘ranging mode’, or R-Mode.

VDES R-Mode is still at a relatively low Technology Readiness Level and much of the standardization required for such System-of-Systems components are not yet in place, giving developers the opportunity to develop better waveforms, techniques, components and concepts to provide truly resilient PNT.

The VAUTAP project will utilise the strong alliance and experience of our Consortium to investigate, consolidate and develop new algorithms, waveforms, software and hardware, to evolve VDES R-Mode closer to an operational and viable component of a resilient PNT System-of-Systems.

To learn more about the event, please visit the IALA 2023 website.