LAS VEGAS — As impressive as the Sea Ray SLX-400e display is at the Consumer Electronics Show, for industrial designers in attendance, the attention is on Sea Ray’s vision for the helm of the future.
A 34-inch ultra-wide beveled screen is the focal point of the helm, with a joystick and throttle and shift controls to the skipper’s right.
Every aspect of a boat’s systems, navigation tools, audio, radar, even text messaging has a place on the screen, but the readouts only appear when necessary or at your command.
The content is intuitive. If a squall is ahead in a plot line, the autopilot and chart offer an alternate course. Daily notices to mariners warn of obstacles in channels. Looking for a restaurant along the ICW? Simply ask.
“We wanted to focus more on the future with a purposeful intent of getting away from the approach of arranging two flat-screen monitors surrounded by two dozen separate gauges and a cluster of other cutouts for rocker and toggle switches,” said Charlie Foss, design director for the Brunswick Boat Group Technology Center.
“We are adding speech and gesture recognition, a critical element since we often point and gesture [on board], Foss added.
“Like a digital butler, the information pops up on the screen only when you need it and quickly fades away when you don’t,” Dannenberg added, demonstrating a collision-avoidance feature.
Brunswick has a five-year target for bringing the helm to market.
Sea Ray (Knoxville, TN headquarters)
Find a dealer near you (for example, Colony Marine in Michigan sells Sea Rays)