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GNSS services are a key enabler for maritime applications and operations, the impact of which can be seen from fleet management to cargo monitoring and to port operations and ship security. Approximately 87% of merchant shipping uses GNSS systems for positioning and navigation services.  While Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) information are important in day-to-day activities of maritime vessels, through their use in tracking, ship-to-ship coordination, port approach and navigation, multi-constellation GNSS are opening up newer, more innovative services. In addition, the Galileo Search-and-Rescue (SAR) service is helping to reduce response times by providing rescue beacon information with improved accuracy.

Among the biggest technological changes in maritime navigation includes the use of Automatic Identification Systems (AIS). AIS automatically shares vessel information with other vessels and coastal authorities, helping to prevent collisions and illegal operations at sea. The information supplied by GNSS on ship vessels help to support such systems. In addition, AIS is increasingly being used to optimise fleet and shipping logistics with the addition of Big Data analytics, thus improving productiveness and efficiency.

GNSS systems also play an important role in the offshore energy industry, which require precise, repeatable and reliable positioning information to co-ordinate surveying and construction projects.

The future of GNSS applications in the maritime industry extends to the development of Smart Ships. Such vessels, which like road counterparts, will leverage Big Data and smart sensors to develop increased automation and intelligent services. These developments could greatly reduce the incidence of human errors, and improve the efficiency of maritime operations. Over the next decade, Asia-Pacific will be the second largest market in terms of shipments and installed bases, thus offering an attractive market to European companies.

In addition, the maritime GNSS market is growing. On average, there has been an annual growth of 9% since 2006, with 1.7 million devices being shipped in 2016.


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