This Clever Skipper-assist Tech Offers Crash-free Boat Docking

Even the most experienced boat operator can have trouble docking when conditions are windy and the current is strong.

So they must embrace Volvo Penta’s clever technology that takes partial control of a ship so that it can easily slide into a docking area.

Volvo Penta – the Swedish automaker’s maritime subsidiary – has been working on its assisted docking technology for several years. Digital Trends covers an early version of this in 2018.

The system is now ready for prime time. The company is showing it on its virtual booth at this week’s fully digital CES technology fair.

The Assisted Docking System combines Volvo Penta’s GPS-based dynamic positioning system with engine electronics, propulsion systems and sensors, as well as advanced navigation processing power that allows a skipper to smoothly move their boat into a room without fear of harboring or worse to knock someone else’s ship.

The system allows the boat to move in a straight line, stand still, rotate around a fixed point and push aside to dock on the side. To use it, simply move the boat’s joystick to give your desired direction and speed.

But here’s the smart part. As the boat continues, the state-of-the-art software in the docking system takes into account external forces such as wind and current and causes the technology to make the appropriate compensations to ensure the boat continues to follow the skipper’s desired course.

“It does this by calculating the propulsion angle and thrust, then acting on the drift and moving the boat back on its intended course,” Volvo Penta said in a press release, adding that docking the boat maintains its course by constantly changing the steering angles be adjusted and thrust.

“Assisted docking is a mix of automated docking and manual docking,” Volvo Penta’s Ida Sparrefors said in a press release. “Although in some ways it would have been easier to implement full automation, the beauty of this system is that it gives the captain improved control. With our team of experts – from software developers to test drivers – we have ensured that it behaves intuitively in all situations so that everyone can feel like an experienced captain. “

Volvo Penta’s Assisted Docking System will be available this spring for installation in new boat models or as an upgradeable option for Volvo Penta motor yachts between 35 and 120 feet in length. It can also be retrofitted on some ships. The prices have yet to be announced.

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