New Assisted Docking automation technology gives the captain a whole new level of control, taking another critical step toward self-docking and easy boating.
Volvo Penta has announced the commercial availability of the industry’s first fully-integrated Assisted Docking system that gives the captain better control when docking.
Docking can be one of the most stressful and challenging aspects of boating. Still, Volvo Penta has now taken its joystick-docking technology and easy boating solutions to the next level in its continued efforts to make docking a less stressful endeavour.
The Assisted Docking system integrates a software layer developed in house with the company’s GPS-based Dynamic Positioning System and proprietary Inboard Performance Systems (IPS) for a complete package including HMI (human-machine interface) at the helm, electronics via the engine, propulsion systems and sensors, and advanced navigation processing power for a much easier boating experience, even in rough conditions.
The Assisted Docking system consists of the joystick that controls the steering input and the GPS-based Dynamic Positioning System antenna to know the exact position and heading. The captain manoeuvres the vessel with the joystick – thereby informing the system which direction it should head in and at what speed. If you move the joystick forward, the system lays out a path straight ahead from the boat, and the boat starts to follow a straight line with the indicated speed.
The boat docking system also considers specific external forces (i.e. wind, current) and the EVC system – upgraded with in-house developed software – compensates to ensure the boat follows the captain’s intentions. It does this by calculating drive angles, and thrust then acts on the drift and moves the boat back to its intended course. The boat docking system keeps this course by constantly fine-tuning the steering angles and thrust.
The captain is still needed at the helm, but Volvo Penta’s Assisted Docking system is continuously compensating for engine input and engine and drive output to help ensure the boat moves as he or she intends. Everything is designed to work together. It is human-machine interaction at its best.
The Assisted Docking system will be available in spring 2021 to install new boat models, as an upgradeable option for Volvo Penta IPS-equipped motor, and as a retrofit.
Check out the video and see just what we are talking about.