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Innovative Portable Pilot Assistance

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Infrastructure Node
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Connected and automated transport (CAT)
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Transport mode
Waterborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

It was anticipated to improve navigational safety, reduce voice radio communications and provide a beneficial impact on the efficiency of traffic flow.


IPPA sought to develop and validate an advanced prototype portable pilot equipment that can receive data from a shorebased Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) centre, such as track and environmental data, and thus, together with its stored data and that from other vessel’s AIS, display a comprehensive traffic image.  The equipment was expected to meet the user's needs, be stand alone (apart from a capability to accept power if available) and function autonomously.  With a variety of communications interfaces, the equipment would also be capable of transmitting back to a VTS centre data required for traffic and port management.


IPPA planned to advance on existing information technologies, build on existing experience and by taking a modular approach, make the end product an extension of available commercial systems or a stand alone ‘low cost’ option for vessels not covered by the carriage requirements of SOLAS. The project’s desire to build, where possible, on existing work and technology, rather than start everything from scratch, was assisted by the support of the United States Coastguard and the members of both the European and International Maritime Pilots Associations, who offered to help establish a sound baseline from which to start. Initially three demonstrations (Venice, Tromsø and Rotterdam) were planned, to give wide exposure to both pilots and other stakeholders, but this was later reduced to two (Tromsø and Rotterdam).


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Comission, DG Information Society
Type of funding
Public (EU)


  • The conduct of a comprehensive user requirement capture;
  • the specification and design of an equipment to meet the users’ requirement;
  • the production of prototype equipment (technology demonstrator), including the integration of a heading device;
  • the design and building of a base station to support the onboard equipment;
  • the interfacing of the base station to various sources of data for transmission to the onboard equipment;
  • the successful demonstration of the IPPA concept to a variety of users and interested bodies;
  • the identification of appropriate standards and the provision of recommendations on standards, where these were deemed to be necessary;
  • the provision of a tool by which onboard decision support can be enhanced;
  • the validation of the IPPA concept;
  • the dissemination of IPPA issues both to public groups and via concertation;
  • the shift in understanding of how vessel traffic can be managed by a variety of stakeholders.

Technical Implications

The IPPA project will enable a more efficient and safer use of waterway infrastructures, canals, rivers, ports, restricted pilotage waters and coastal waters.  By providing real-time, accurate information, the pilot or inland waterway vessel master will have safer use of the seas and inland waterways, particularly in congested areas.

Policy implications

The project addressed the needs for standardisation and interoperability through dissemination to member state maritime and inland waterway administrations throughout Europe, not least in concertation with other European Commission sponsored projects.  It also, through member state administration and agency sponsors, raised relevant issues regarding the protocols and performance standards during national, European and international organisation workshops and conferences.  This strategy was vital to start the process of worldwide interoperability.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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