Aeronautical Data Systems (ADS) and Orbcomm have signed a strategic partnership for Orbcomm to deliver Automatic Identification System (AIS) ship-position information to users of ADS’s Ergo safety apps. The Ergo apps show georeferenced aircraft position on a moving map with an overlay of AIS-derived shipping traffic that could be helpful for a rescue in case an aircraft needs to ditch in the ocean.
Using the Ergo app running on an Apple iPad, pilots can see near-real-time ship positions and, when the iPad is connected to a suitable maritime transceiver, send emergency messages to nearby ships. The AIS information includes vessel speed, direction, and country of origin. Ergo can send “an automatic mayday distress call formatted to maritime protocols on a continuous 2.5-minute loop, updating all pertinent aircraft location information at each interval,” according to ADS. “The pilot can select the most desirable vessels to ditch near, but all ships within VHF range (potentially 200 to 250 nm, depending on altitude) will receive this call on the maritime distress channel 16.”
“This is equivalent to pulling a fire alarm in the middle of the ocean to alert any resource within hearing distance to come and help,” said ADS CEO Jim Stabile. ADS and Orbcomm expect display of AIS information to “complement the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS) due to be implemented in 2023.”