As part of the modernisation of all operative tasks concerning the marking of the waterway, the previously used steel buoys were replaced by PE-buoys and PE-light buoys in 2017 (see also Transfer of the tasks concerning the marking of the waterway).
Since mid-2018, all land- and water-side beacons (navigation signs with rhythmically illuminated light) along the Austrian Danube as well as all buoys in the critical section east of Vienna have been equipped with remote monitoring modules (see also Digitisation and modernisation of the waterway marking). Once or twice a day, the modules send a status message to the software about their position, any position deviations, their inclination in the water, the status of their battery, etc. via satellites.
The position information of the floating fairway signs (buoys) is not only important for the waterway management in order to be able to monitor the marking of the waterway optimally, but would also be of great benefit to the skippers directly on board of their vessels.
One aim of the RIS COMEX project is therefore to make the exact position information of the buoys available on board of ships and thus to make navigation easier for the skippers. The buoys will be displayed via the electronic navigation map display software on board the ships. This would also make it possible to set virtual buoys - for example in the event of accidents.
In summer 2018, the first prototypes of the new generation of remote monitoring modules was tested for the first time in the field. As part of the RIS COMEX project, a research cooperation was entered into in 2018 with the three market leaders in the field of map display software in order to ensure a verified and harmonised representation of floating navigation signs in the electronic navigation charts. The new function is to be made available to existing customers of the chart display software (skippers already using one of the software versions) free of charge. It is planned to send out the first position data of the buoys by the end of 2019 and to make them usable for shipping.