Volvo Penta continues to develop self-docking technology

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Look ma, no hands. Volvo Penta is taking steps towards making its self-docking system a reality.

Look ma, no hands. Volvo Penta is taking steps towards making its self-docking system a reality.

A year after demonstrating its self-docking concept, Volvo Penta says it is taking all the feedback it received and moving forward with a stepwise approach.

“The feat drew the attention of avid boaters, marine industry stakeholders and a huge social media audience — and sparked some big conversations,” Anders Thorin, product manager electronics, Volvo Penta, said in a statement.

In the statement, the company says the first step — the assist phase— is to make the technology easy with functions that assist in the docking process. The assisted functionality is based on integrating existing technology with the aim to make it easier to avoid potential obstacles using cameras that give the driver a view of what is nearby, similar to a back-up camera in an automobile.

Volvo says the assist phase is currently under development and hopes to launch it in 2020. “This will involve few new components, mostly software enhancements that help existing systems work in a more integrated manner,” the statement read. The software will use the technology in Volvo’s IPS joystick and Dynamic Positioning System to make assisted boat operation possible. Volvo also says it plans to combine assisted operation with surround-camera view to give boaters a better view and lead into development of the second step, the avoiding phase. The cameras can show a bird’s eye view of the boat and the surrounding area in the Glass Cockpit display.

Dynamic positioning has been around since 2009 and is being refined so it can be used in close-quarter maneuvering. Volvo says it will help the driver by integrating the technology more effectively with the joystick functionality so the boat will move in the required direction, stop and hold position with not moving the joystick.

Other introductions for Volvo Penta at a recent media event in Gothenburg included next generation D4 and D6 propulsion packages available in IPS, inboard and stern drive. Enhancements include re-engineering of the engines for more power and torque in a line of diesels that range from 150 to 480 hp. Volvo says the engines make 10 percent more power across the range and are more fuel efficient. Upgrades include a new engine management system, upgraded fuel injection and new super and turbochargers.

To put the power to the water, Volvo Penta’s DPI driveline has a new hydraulic clutch system and fly-by-wire steering that could provide improved joystick docking function. The driveline also comes with Dynamic Positioning System. The inboard version is available for shaft and water-jet systems.

New for the IPS in 2019, the company has improved the service-ability of the pod. Filters and oil can be accessed from inside the hull and the oil needs to be changed every second year. Sensors read the differential oil pressure over the filters to identify possible clogs. A water-in-oil sensor has also been added. The drives have also been upgraded with higher-strength gears and re-designed propeller shaft seal, input bearing carrier and an upper shaft and bearings have all been re-designed.

To complement the engines, Volvo Penta introduced a new generation of its Electronic Vessel Control. The first system upgrade since it was launched in 2003, EVC2 connects and manages the internal communications between the engine, controls and display screens. EVC2 can also connect more functions into the system, including a single connection point for software downloads and diagnostics and an On-Board Service Assistant feature.

In the statement, the company says the first step — the assist phase— is to make the technology easy with functions that assist in the docking process. The assisted functionality is based on integrating existing technology with the aim to make it easier to avoid potential obstacles using cameras that give the driver a view of what is nearby, similar to a back-up camera in an automobile.

Volvo says the assist phase is currently under development and hopes to launch it in 2020. “This will involve few new components, mostly software enhancements that help existing systems work in a more integrated manner,” the statement read. The software will use the technology in Volvo’s IPS joystick and Dynamic Positioning System to make assisted boat operation possible. Volvo also says it plans to combine assisted operation with surround-camera view to give boaters a better view and lead into development of the second step, the avoiding phase. The cameras can show a bird’s eye view of the boat and the surrounding area in the Glass Cockpit display.

Dynamic positioning has been around since 2009 and is being refined so it can be used in close-quarter maneuvering. Volvo says it will help the driver by integrating the technology more effectively with the joystick functionality so the boat will move in the required direction, stop and hold position with not moving the joystick.

Other introductions for Volvo Penta include next generation D4 and D6 propulsion packages available in IPS, inboard and stern drive. Enhancements include re-engineering of the engines for more power and torque in a line of diesels that range from 150 to 480 hp. Volvo says the engines make 10 percent more power across the range and are more fuel efficient. Upgrades include a new engine management system, upgraded fuel injection and new super and turbochargers.

To put the power to the water, Volvo Penta’s DPI driveline has a new hydraulic clutch system and fly-by-wire steering that could provide improved joystick docking function. The driveline also comes with Dynamic Positioning System. The inboard version is available for shaft and water-jet systems.

New for the IPS in 2019, the company has improved the service-ability of the pod. Filters and oil can be accessed from inside the hull and the oil needs to be changed every second year. Sensors read the differential oil pressure over the filters to identify possible clogs. A water-in-oil sensor has also been added. The drives have also been upgraded with higher-strength gears and re-designed propeller shaft seal, input bearing carrier and an upper shaft and bearings have all been re-designed.

To complement the engines, Volvo Penta introduced a new generation of its Electronic Vessel Control. The first system upgrade since it was launched in 2003, EVC2 connects and manages the internal communications between the engine, controls and display screens. EVC2 can also connect more functions into the system, including a single connection point for software downloads and diagnostics and an On-Board Service Assistant feature.

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