Evinrude debuts joystick piloting systemPosted on Written by Ed Killer
Imagine if the most anxiety-riddled portion of a day’s boating excursion suddenly became effortless.
That was the goal of Evinrude Outboard Motors, a division of Bombardier Recreational Products, as the company said today that it is introducing the Evinrude iDock joystick piloting system.
The intuitive, integrated system will be available this fall for boaters who purchase new twin Evinrude E-TEC G2 150-hp to 300-hp engines.
In addition to providing experienced captains and first-time boaters alike with 360 degrees of confidence when docking or maneuvering in close quarters, Evinrude has ensured its latest technology is accessible, with an MSRP of $5,999 for all components of the system, from the joystick to the rigging.
“We made the iDock system intuitive, using gyroscope sensors to help hold the heading of the boat, which corrects for wind and current automatically,” said Jason Eckman, global product manager for Evinrude. “It really gives the boat operator complete control at his or her fingertips.”
Eckman said an added feature of iDock is its ability to offer two stages of operation for the boater.
“In case you need additional thrust, you put a little more pressure on the joystick, and it moves into the boost position to give you the additional thrust you need, up to double, if necessary,” he said.
While the boater is able to concentrate on approaching the dock, what goes on behind him is where the magic happens. A gentle push of the joystick, and each outboard motor will automatically and independently adjust accordingly to ensure that the hull is moving in the direction and at the speed the operator desires.
Someone observing the motors may notice the port motor turning outward while the propeller is moving in reverse at the same time the starboard motor is angled slightly inward with the propeller moving forward. The prop wash may appear chaotic, but the desired result is an ultra-smooth advance toward the dock.
Eckman said Evinrude engineers began with the goal of creating easy-to-use technology that would also be easy to own. It resulted in a simplistic design feature, which means clutter-free rigging.
“The whole iDock system is integrated,” he said. “It leverages the hydraulic steering architecture of the E-TEC G2 platform. We already had the steering integrated into the engine; we had the power steering. All we needed to do then was to add the control of these engines independently.”
Installation time is minimized, which helps keep costs down. The iDock models follow the same installation process as the Evinrude E-TEC G2 models, requiring less than an hour of on-the-water setup.
Eckman said that all helps make iDock more “attainable.”
“We know in our industry that docking is an anxiety that almost all boaters have,” he said. “As boaters, we’re spending a lot of money and we take a lot of pride in what we own, but nobody wants to look dumb at the dock.”
Evinrude E-TEC G2 iDock model engines will be sold in pairs and will be available in the fall of 2017.