McMurdo Selects the Low Power Consuming Fastrax IT310 GPS Receivers for Accurate Positioning of AIS SART Maritime Search and Rescue Devices

Share Article

High-performing positioning technology assists in quick recovery of survivors

Fastrax Ltd., a pioneering supplier of high performance GPS receivers, Software GPS solutions and tracking systems for location-aware devices, and McMurdo Ltd., a developer and manufacturer of emergency location beacons, today announced the agreement to include Fastrax GPS receivers in McMurdo’s new AIS SART safety beacons. The beacons use GPS data to locate their accurate position and transfer the range and course to survivors to standard AIS displays onboard nearby ships.

The AIS SART technology (Automatic Identification System Search And Rescue Transmitter) was adopted into the carriage requirements of the International Maritime Organization as of January 1, 2010 as a new alternative to the traditional radar-based SART. McMurdo’s first AIS SART product, the Smartfind S5, utilizes the highly sensitive and low power consuming Fastrax IT310 GPS receiver to quickly determine an accurate position of survival crafts.

The compact-sized Smartfind S5 is mounted on ship bridges, survival crafts and life rafts, and packed inside a quick release carry off bag for quick evacuation. Once activated, it transmits alert messages including its geographic position and identity number for a minimum of 96 hours. The location is updated every minute, with four messages transmitted on AIS 1 and four on AIS 2. All eight messages are transmitted within a total time frame of 14 seconds. This time frame is designed to maximize the probability that one of the transmissions will coincide with the AIS SART being at the top of a wave, so enhancing the probability of reception. It is only necessary to receive one of the eight messages from time to time to accurately locate the AIS SART.

“Emergency location beacons require positioning technology that reliably provides accurate location data in challenging conditions, with low enough power consumption to ensure adequate operation time”, said John Norrish, New Product Specialist of McMurdo Ltd. “Power consumption of an AIS SART beacon is dominated by the GPS receiver, and the Fastrax IT310 GPS receiver module clearly stood out from the competition with its very low power drain. Fastrax also offered us valuable insight and advice in the design and development process, working with us to optimize GPS performance.”

“We strive to offer optimal GPS performance, stability and reliability for demanding applications, and are proud to have been selected as the GPS vendor for the new innovative McMurdo safety products,” said Taneli Tuurnala, CEO and President of Fastrax. “Using our technology to enhance safety is the most rewarding of all applications, and we look forward to continue our success within the demanding marine application industry.”

Designed for navigation systems and battery operated devices, the Fastrax IT310 is based on SiRFStarIII LPx chipset. The low-power design is further enhanced with configurable power management, which makes it one of the lowest power consuming OEM GPS receivers on the market. The minimal power drain allowed McMurdo Ltd to use a smaller battery while still meeting the required 96 hour operating time, and to produce a lighter and more conveniently sized product for easier mounting.

Further information:

Fastrax contact:
Pasi Alajoki, Sales Director, EMEA
Tel. + 358 40 5152 911
pasi.alajoki (at)

McMurdo contact:
Claire Morby, Marketing Coordinator
Tel. + 44 (0)23 9262 3900
sales (at)

Fastrax agency contact:
Juha Frey, Netprofile Tech PR
Tel. +358 9 6812 080
juha (at)

About McMurdo Ltd.
McMurdo Ltd is a world leading producer of Emergency Positioning Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs), Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs), Search and Rescue Transponders (SARTs), and VHF Radios for the maritime and leisure markets, including shipping, yachting, and outdoor adventure pursuits. The high quality product range is manufactured in the UK utilising the very latest technology available, and in partnership with the world’s safety regulatory organisations. For further information, please visit

About Fastrax Ltd.
Fastrax is a leading provider of high performance GPS receivers, Software GPS solutions and tracking systems for device manufacturers and device designers. Fastrax enables the utilization of GPS and other Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) in virtually any device, from industrial applications to battery-operated consumer products. Based on a decade of intensive research and development, Fastrax products feature a unique combination of state-of-the-art performance, extremely low power consumption, flexible software and miniature, easy-to-deploy designs. The product portfolio consists of multiple GPS receivers and GPS antenna modules, novel pure Software GPS solutions offering fast time-to-market with minimal costs and easily adjustable features, along with easy-to-deploy Track & Trace platforms with integrated communications capabilities. Fastrax Extended Support Services provide expert advice and consulting in GPS application design. Fastrax is headquartered in Finland and founded in 1999. For further information, please visit

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author


Email >
Visit website