In order to overcome the vulnerability of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) initiated the ranging mode (R-Mode) of the automatic identification system (AIS) to provide resilient position data. As the existing AIS is a communication system, the number of shore stations as reference stations cannot satisfy positioning requirements. Especially in the area near a shore station, it is very common that a vessel can only receive signals from one shore station, where the traditional positioning method cannot be used. A novel position estimation method using multiple antennas on shipborne equipment is proposed here, which provides a vessel’s position even though the vessel can only receive signals from a single shore station. It is beneficial for solving positioning issues in proximity to the coast. Further, as the distances between different antennas to the shore station are not sufficiently independent, the positioning matrix can easily be near singularity or ill-conditioned; thus, an effective position solving method is derived. Furthermore, the proposed method is verified and evaluated in different scenarios by numerical simulation. We assessed the influencing factors of positioning performance, such as the vessel’s heading angle, the relative position, and the distances between the shore station and the vessel. The proposed method widely expands the application scope of the AIS R-Mode positioning system.
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