Aiming to tackle one of boating’s most stressful manoeuvres – docking – Volvo Penta has unveiled an advanced self-docking solution, targeted for launch in 2020.
The Gothenburg, Sweden, stopover of the Volvo Ocean race was the scene for the unveiling of the self-docking system. In a live demonstration, a 68 ft yacht fitted with the technology skilfully manoeuvred itself into the tightest of spaces between two of the Volvo Ocean Race 65 racing yachts.
“Docking is one of the most challenging boat handling manoeuvres – getting it wrong can be embarrassing, expensive and precarious,” says Björn Ingemanson, President of Volvo Penta.
“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 conditions, constantly making micro adjustments 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.”
Safety is a primary factor in the ongoing development of the feature and, as with similar ‘self-parking’ technology in the automotive world, Volvo Penta’s docking system is not designed to be fully autonomous.
While the system will also feature surround sensors that provide anti-collision alert and avoidance, the captain needs to remain at the helm during the docking process, ready to intervene if necessary.