GEAR | Volvo Penta launches new assisted docking system

Volvo Penta has introduced a new fully integrated assisted docking system.

The system is designed to give the captain better control when docking a boat by automating his or her intentions, compensating for some dynamic variables such as wind and current, and helping the vessel stay on its intended course.

The 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 human-machine interface (HMI) at the helm, electronics via the engine, propulsion systems and sensors, and advanced navigation processing power for easier control, 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 the direction it should head in and at what speed.

If the joystick is moved forward, the system lays out a path straight forward from the boat and the boat starts to follow a straight line with the indicated speed.

The boat docking system also takes into account certain 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 main features of the boat docking system are: moving in straight lines without manual compensation, standing still, slow manoeuvring functionality, rotating around a fixed point, micro re-positioning and alignment, and side push for sideways docking.

Volvo Penta’s assisted docking system is capable of constantly compensating for engine input and engine and drive output to help ensure the boat moves as the captain intends.

The system will be available in the spring of 2021 for installation on new boat models, as an upgradeable option for Volvo Penta IPS-equipped motor yachts sized 10 to 36 metres long, and as a retrofit – which will require a software upgrade and new antenna – for existing Volvo Penta IPS-powered boats.

The assisted docking system will be sold directly to original equipment manufacturers.

Baird Maritime Gear Editor

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