MTCAS Maritime Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System


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.

Funded by


MTCAS project aims at developing an intelligent maritime collision avoidance system with three different levels of alarms with regards to the level of danger. This should be 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.


Technologies from Artificial Intelligence (AI), Prediction and Knowledge Representation domains are suggested to be used in MTCAS project. For example, regarding to prediction based on historical tracking data, polynomial regression, Bayesian algorithm based on a Particle Filter (PF), Adaptive neural-based fuzzy inference system (ANFIS) and Genetic Programing (GP) are candidate technologies. Rule-based knowledge base technologies are suitable to represent and query the International Collision Regulations COLLREGs, and local rules (e.g. rules in a specific port or harbor).


External Leader

Sven Rohde (Raytheon Anschütz)

Scientific Director

e-Navigation based cooperative collision avoidance at sea: The MTCAS approach

Christian Denker, Michael Baldauf, Sandro Fischer, Axel Hahn, Ralf Ziebold, Elke Gehrmann, Mika Semann; Proc. of ENC'16; 05 / 2016

COLREGs-Coverage in Collision Avoidance Approaches: Review and Identification of Solutions

Mazen Salous, Axel Hahn, Christian Denker; 12th International Symposium on Integrated Ship’s Information Systems & Marine Traffic Engineering Conference; 08 / 2016

MTCAS - An Assistance System for Maritime Collision Avoidance

Christian Denker, Axel Hahn; 12th International Symposium on Integrated Ship’s Information Systems & Marine Traffic Engineering Conference; 08 / 2016

Künstliche Intelligenz und hochautomatisierte Navigation

Axel Hahn, Matthias Steidel, Leon Siegel; Schiff & Hafen; 0Februar / 2018

Τεχνητή νοημοσύνη και εξαιρετικά αυτοματοποιημένη πλοήγηση

Axel Hahn, Matthias Steidel, Leon Siegel; Ship & Offshore; 0Juni / 2018

MTCAS – An Assistance System for Collision Avoidance at Sea

Matthias Steidel and Axel Hahn; 18 th International Conference on Computer and IT Applications in the Maritime Industries; 0März / 2019

An Approach for Safety Assessment for Highly Automated Systems Applied to a Maritime Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System

Sebastian Vander Maelen, Matthias Büker, Birte Kramer, Eckard Böde, Sebastian Gerwinn, Georg Hake, Axel Hahn; 2019 4th International Conference on System Reliability and Safety (ICSRS); 2019

Anschütz GmbH
Signalis GmbH
Hochschule Wismar
DLR Institut für Kommunikation und Navigation


Start: 01.01.2016
End: 31.12.2018

Source of funding


FKZ: 03SX405D

Related projects


Cooperative Shipping and Navigation on Sea