Thanks to Robb Report for this:
GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN- Docking can be one of the most stressful and challenging aspects of boating – even for experienced captains. The consequences of getting it wrong when you are docking a boat are expensive, at best – and that is in fair weather.
Add crowded marinas, strong winds, and rough currents and the outcome can be problematic and even quite dangerous. Unlike a car, a boat never stands still without some maneuvering required. And moving in a straight line, into a narrow berth in foul weather is much more difficult than steering the wheel of a car. But 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 endeavor.
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.
“When we launched our joystick technology in 2006, the maneuvering and control brought a new chapter to boating,” Anders Thorin, Volvo Penta’s electronics guru, told Robb Report. “This Assisted Docking system is the next step in easy boating.”
Volvo Penta and its competitors have been in a race to develop electronic systems that make boat-handling easier and less stressful, but this system puts the Swedes at the front of the pack.
Assisted Docking works with any boat using Volvo’s IPS electronics system, including some of its 120-foot superyachts.
Thorin said the human-machine interface was hard to develop, even compared to the fully automated system. “Part of it is to make the driving feel absolutely natural so you don’t feel like the automation is taking over,” he says. That means the boat needs to move in a straight line in wind, without the driver having to always compensate, or hover over one spot when you want to remain in place without tossing out the anchor.
By touching a “Side Push” button on the helm console, the boat can come into a dock sideways. It instills a lot more confidence than the usual fire-drill of a yacht caught in a big crosswind, looking like it’s being pulled three ways as it tries to get safely to the dock.
Volvo Penta Assisted Docking