Product category: Programmable Logic Devices
News Release from: Actel Europe | Subject: ProASIC3
Edited by the Electronicstalk Editorial Team on 13 February 2007

Flash-based FPGAs aid maritime safety

Note: A free brochure or catalogue is available from Actel Europe on the products in this news release. Click here to request a copy.

Software Radio Technology uses Flash-based ProASIC3 FPGAs in its Class B Automatic Identification System Unit for marine vessels

Actel's single-chip, Flash-based ProASIC3 field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) have been selected by software radio Technology (SRT) for use within its Class B Automatic Identification System (AIS) Unit for marine vessels. Actel's secure A3P250 solution allowed SRT to choose the most cost-effective contract manufacturing services for its product, while protecting the valuable intellectual property (IP) at the core of its design.

Actel's single-chip, live at power-up device also reduces board space and costs, and requires significantly less power to switch-on, critical features for portable, battery-operated marine equipment.

AIS is an international standard that allows marine vessels to send and receive position, course and other details via VHF radio, thus facilitating coastal surveillance, vessel protection and port management, and improving homeland security.

SRT's Class B AIS products are designed for leisure and smaller commercial crafts, addressing a global market of over 24 million units.

'Because AIS is not yet compulsory for smaller crafts, it was essential to create a product that is highly appealing, not only in terms of its functionality and usability, but also when considering its cost, sise and power consumption', said Neil Peniket, Operations Director at SRT.

'Only Actel's ProASIC3 solution was able to satisfy our entire range of needs: security, low-power and small size'.

Rich Brossart, Vice President of Marketing at Actel, said: 'Today AIS is actively being used as a safety device by leisure boat owners and a tracking tool by port authorities and other commercial marine operators'.

'As new national guidelines mandate the use of AIS units, it represents an exciting new, high-growth category of portable devices'.

'SRT's selection of the ProASIC3 for its leading-edge AIS technology validates the suitability of flash-based FPGAs to address this market'.

Worldwide standards for AIS are set by the United Nations' International Maritime Organisation (IMO), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Current standards combine VHF radio with GPS (Global Positioning System) to provide 'intelligent radar' capabilities.

Although uptake of the technology is being actively encouraged by those authorities responsible for identifying and assessing seaborne security threats, there are substantial end-user benefits, primarily in the areas of safety and collision avoidance. Request a free brochure from Actel Europe....

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