To date, a Virtual AIS Beacon has been used in three high-profile locations. Given Vesper’s antipodean roots, two of these spots are in New Zealand: the first on a hill above the ports of Auckland, the second on the South Island’s Doubtful Sound. The Auckland installation (established in 2012) consists of a single 12.5-watt unit that augments existing AtoNs and can (pending approval) adjust shipping lanes based on whale activity, while the Doubtful Sound beacon (a 2-watt unit) protects cruise ships and private yachts from accidentally “encountering” Tarapunga Rock. Robbins said that the Doubtful Sound location provides a perfect acid test for the technology, because localized environmental conditions are so extreme that physical AtoNs are almost immediately destroyed by storms, and the shore station’s remote location means that it can be reached only once a year via helicopter. Moreover, the station receives just a few hours of sunlight during winter months, and, Robbins said, the area is home to a bird species that eats the rubberized coating on exposed wires and seals, putting an extra demand on this crucial, remote-operated hardware. This installation has been in continuous service for several years, without problems or pecked-off wire housings.