Volvo Penta releases details of assisted docking system

Volvo Penta says its new assisted docking system gives 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 company says it has 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 system integrates a software layer developed in house with the company’s GPS-based dynamic positioning system and 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 manoeuvring and control functionality it brought to leisure boating shook up the marine industry – delivering game-changing innovation is in our DNA,” says Anders Thorin, product manager electronics at Volvo Penta.

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 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.

“Assisted docking is a hybrid between automated docking and manual docking,” says Ida Sparrefors, director of autonomous solutions at Volvo Penta. “Even though, in some ways, it would have been easier to implement full automation, the beauty of this system is that it gives the captain enhanced control. With our team of experts – from software developers to test drivers – we have made it behave intuitively in all situations, so that anyone can feel like a seasoned captain.”

The assisted docking system will be available in spring 2021 for installation on new boat models, as
an upgradeable option for Volvo Penta IPS-equipped motor yachts sized 35ft to 120ft long, and as a retrofit – which will require a software upgrade and new antenna – for existing Volvo Penta IPS-powered boats. It’ll be sold directly to original equipment manufacturers.

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