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2018 July August Marina World

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The magazine for the marina industry

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WATER WITCH workboats Cleaning Plastics from our Waterways Multipurpose Marina Maintenance Solutions Unique interchangeable pod system allows one vessel to carry out many functions. Debris Collection Trash Removal Weed Harvesting Oil Spill Response Mooring inspection Mobile Pump-out

PRODUCTS, SERVICES & PEOPLE A 21m (68ft) yacht, fitted with Volvo Penta’s pioneering self-docking system, manoeuvres to its berth between two racing yachts. It is guided by sensors on board and on the dockside. Volvo Penta unveils pioneering ‘self-docking’ system Power systems specialist Volvo Penta used the Gothenburg, Sweden stopover of the Volvo Ocean race in June to demonstrate a new pioneering self-docking system that could make berthing up at a marina pain-free. In a live demonstration, a 68ft (21m) yacht fitted with the technology skilfully manoeuvred into the tightest of spaces between two of the Volvo Ocean Race 65 racing yachts. Part of Volvo Penta’s ongoing ‘Easy Boating’ philosophy, the new technology is developed around the joystick-controlled Volvo Penta Performance System (IPS), a complete and integrated propulsion system – from the helm station, via the engine, all the way to the propellers. Coupled with sensors and advanced navigation processing power, the system will ensure easy, safe docking regardless of narrow berths, changing wind and sea conditions or marina congestion. “Docking is one of the most challenging boat handling manoeuvres – getting it wrong can be embarrassing, expensive and precarious,” says Volvo Penta president Björn Ingemanson. “Our IPS system has already taken great strides in making docking easier, and this new self-docking feature takes that process one important stage further. Its sensors and onboard computers react in milliseconds to changing wind and sea condition, constantly making micro adjustment in power and steering angle of the IPS drive to keep the boat on its intended course into a safe berth. If necessary, the docking process can be paused, and the system will hold the boat stationary in the water. Even in changing sea conditions it can make the sea appear to stand still.” Automating the docking process involves three distinct phases. Firstly, as the boat nears its berth, the system recognises that it has entered a ‘catch zone’ and sends out a signal to the captain that it is ready to dock. Once the captain has activated the selfdocking function, the boat is then (aided by GPS) automatically moved into a ‘docking ready’ position. Once the captain has initiated the final stage, the system uses a combination of GPS and sensors – fitted onboard and also fitted to the destination dock – to automatically move the boat into a safe berth. With sensors aboard and sensors at the berth, it should be easy manoeuvring for any owner of one of the latest IPS equipped boats. But less fortunate boat owners need not despair as a retrofit version of the function is also planned that opens up the technology to thousands of boat owners. With prototypes undergoing development trials and launch scheduled for 2020, Volvo Penta will initially be targeting individuals with private docks. Longer term, it is believed that the technology will be of considerable interest to harbours and marinas. An additional future scenario is to integrate the system with Volvo Penta’s Easy Connect app. This could be used to check if the nearest marina is equipped with the appropriate selfdocking technology or even perhaps use it to secure a berth. Safety is a primary factor and, as with similar self-parking technology in the automotive world, the docking system is not designed to be fully autonomous. The captain needs to remain at the helm during the process ready to intervene if necessary. “We have long had the ambition to make docking as easy as possible,” says Johan Inden, chief technology officer at Volvo Penta. “The first step towards this was in 2006, with the launch of our joystick docking technology. This was followed by the introduction of the Dynamic Positioning System, which automatically maintains a boat’s heading and position, even during strong currents or windy conditions – ideal when preparing for docking. Now, we are taking the next important step by enabling the boat to dock itself. With our easy docking concept, we aim to attract more people to enjoy the boating experience.” E: - July/August 2018 51

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