RDS implemented Automatic Identification System (AIS) are used on ships and by vessel traffic services (VTS) for identifying and locating vessels by electronically exchanging data with other nearby ships, AIS base stations, and satellites.

A marine traffic coordinator using AIS and radar can effectively manage vessel traffic. An AIS-equipped system on board a ship presents the bearing and distance of nearby vessels in a radar-like display format.

Information provided by AIS equipment, such as unique identification, position, course, and speed, can be displayed on a screen or an ECDIS. AIS is intended to assist a vessel's watchstanding officers and allow maritime authorities to track and monitor vessel movements. AIS integrates a standardizedVHF transceiver with a positioning system such as a GPS or LORAN-C receiver, with other electronic navigation sensors, such as a gyrocompass or rate of turn indicator.