The American manufacturers join their forces, and Mercury Marine with DockSense now provides assisted docking on outboard-powered boats. The Raymarine system debuted on Prestige Yachts but is now available on crafts with Mercury engines and will be previewed at the 2019 Miami International Boat Show.
Integrating Raymarine DockSense assisted-docking is a natural step forward for Mercury Marine, which introduced Zeus joystick docking for pod drives in 2007, then Axius for sterndrive engines a year later, and finally Joystick Piloting for Outboards (JPO) in 2013. All three joystick systems deliver a precise control system, and all three were developed as precursors of autonomous vessel control.
An (autonomous) step forward
What happens now, as we said, is a further step. Mercury Marine with DockSense by Raymarine gives the chance to dock the boat almost automatically. Launched earlier this month with Prestige Yachts at the Düsseldorf Boot, DockSense is an object recognition and motion sensing assisted docking solution. It uses cameras and video analytic technology to create a Virtual Bumper zone around the vessel and assist boat owners in tight quarter docking. At the upcoming Miami Boat Show, the system will be featured on a 33-foot Boston Whaler Outrage with twin Mercury Verados, JPO, and Mercury’s advanced piloting assist system.
This demonstrator provides an example of how Mercury’s technology is not closed, but adaptable to partner systems to make boating easier. Mercury Marine with DockSense by Raymarine is a core technology based on the latest aerospace control systems and autonomous-car Artificial Intelligence. The system will support a wide variety of future uses for assisted and semi-autonomous functionality, as it can be integrated with sensors like vision systems and lidar.
While not in the market place today,
assisted docking technology is
poised to revolutionize boat
handling in the near future
Raymarine DockSense uses advanced machine vision technology to sense and identify potential obstacles in the vessel’s path, providing feedback to the Mercury Autonomous system to allow the boat’s JPO system to autonomously respond and ensure a smooth docking process.
While not in the market place today, assisted docking technology is poised to revolutionize boat handling in the near future. The upcoming demonstrations of Mercury Marine with DockSense by Raymarine will be used to capture valuable market feedback that will help to work toward the adoption and commercialization of these advanced technologies.