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The automated boat: Tech to radically modernize tomorrow’s boats

By By Tom Kaiser

Our level of technical sophistication is getting extravagant. We’ve solved so many big problems, that much of our advancements are high-tech cherries atop the cakes of necessity. That doesn’t mean that the days of jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring advancements are over. In fact, many techno-swamis see countless revolutions on the horizon and, similarly, marine industry watchers are working on some amazing stuff.

We can have witty conversations with our phones, cars are starting to know if we’re in the mood for back-road shenanigans or traffic-skipping shortcuts, and vision of totally connected, Jetson-style homes are now here for a nominal monthly fee.

How does this translate to boats? Those at the forefront of marine technology say the possibilities are endless. Current or coming-real-soon tech enables turning on the AC before reaching the marina, checking the temp in the livewell from afar, controlling navigation and interior lighting with one button, alerting nearby dealerships that your battery may be failing, and generally bringing all functions of the boat together into one or many screens that give humans the delight of pinching and zooming their way to the destination.

Getting the required electrical system, sensors, cameras, Wi-Fi connections and durable, intuitive touchscreens in place was the hard part. The easier part will be coming up with uses for all the data available when the Internet and your boat’s electrical system are merged.

“Good morning, Mr. Smith. The current temperature is 72, with a forecasted high of 85 degrees. Your boat is ready to continue your charted route to Marco Island. If you’re hungry, Rumrunners in Fort Myers is offering you a 10-percent-off coupon if you are inclined to stop for lunch.”

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