The current maritime navigation systems’ technologies (like ARPA: Automatic Radar Plotting Aids) issue alarms such as Closest Point of Approach (CPA) and Time to CPA (TCPA) to warn the seafarers about critical situations or potential conflicts. However, this technology does not depend on analyzing historical tracking data, planned routes data, external information, knowledge-bases or environmental DB. Instead, it just depends on the current observed dynamics of ships (current position, speed and course) in order to predict CPA and TCPA. This can lead to wrong and useless alarms because current dynamics can change before the predicted CPA (e.g. in the next planned Way-Point). Thus, useless alarms (e.g. conflict on land or conflict between tankers and/or containers on shallow water) can be issued by traditional navigation systems technologies. However, the traditional technologies may issue important alarms, but they can be very late in some cases to have suitable reactions. MTCAS aims at exploiting all available information (historical tracking data, current observed data, planned routes data, Knowledge-bases, external information and environmental DB) in order to give early and more accurate predictions and suggestions to avoid potential collisions.

Project Goals

MTCAS project aims at developing an intelligent maritime collision avoidance system with different levels of alarms with regards to the level of danger. This are similar to the collision avoidance system available in aircrafts, where a “last line of defense” alarm can be issued in dangerous cases and the pilot must follow the suggestions accordingly in such cases.

Testing MTCAS with RK Senckenberg and RV Zuse on Jade Bight

Resulting research artifacts

  • Improved alerts through prediction technology
    • Intelligent CPA taking into account ship sensory data, resilient PNT data, sea chart information, route information and historical tracking data
    • Ultimate Action Alarm based on Fast Time Simulation of dynamics model and resilient PNT
  • Reduction of misunderstandings through negotiation
    • Critical situation harmonization with integration of navigators
    • Manoeuvre negotiation and settlement for n ships


Funding Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, FKZ: 03SX405D