An “assisted docking” system that provides a glimpse into the future of boating will be demonstrated for the media at two upcoming events by Mercury Marine and Raymarine aboard a Boston Whaler Outrage. The first event will take place today at Mercury’s famed Lake X test center and another demonstration to take place at the 2019 Miami International Boat Show.
The assisted docking system showcases the synergy between Brunswick Corporation's Mercury Marine and Raymarine's FLIR and DockSense systems.
Integrating Raymarine DockSense assisted-docking came as a natural “next step” for Mercury, which introduced Zeus joystick docking in 2007. Axius, the first joystick system for sterndrive engines, followed a year later, and Mercury introduced Joystick Piloting for Outboards (JPO) in 2013.
“This demonstration extends Mercury’s role as the leader in marine propulsion,” said John Pfeifer, Mercury Marine president. “Our future is focused on innovation and inspiration on the water. We are positioned on the cutting edge of autonomous piloting and other new technologies and will continue to deliver better boating experiences to our customers."
At the upcoming demonstrations at Lake X and the Miami Boat Show, the new Raymarine DockSense assisted-docking system will be featured on a 33-foot Boston Whaler Outrage rigged with twin Mercury Verado engines with JPO, and with Mercury’s advanced piloting assist system. Mercury’s new assisted-docking system is a core technology based on the latest aerospace control systems and autonomous-car Artificial Intelligence. Mercury’s autonomous system will support a wide variety of future uses for assisted and semi-autonomous functionality, as it can be integrated with sensors like vision systems and lidar. The demonstration provides an example of how Mercury’s technology is adaptable to partner systems, like Raymarine DockSense to can make boating easier.
The Raymarine DockSense system uses advanced machine vision technology to sense and identify potential obstacles in the vessel’s path, providing feedback to the Mercury Autonomous system to allow the boat’s JPO system to autonomously respond and ensure a smooth docking process.
“Mercury’s adoption of Raymarine DockSense assisted docking solution will transform the boating experience,” said Travis Merrill, FLIR Commercial Business Unit president. “By combining FLIR machine learning and advanced sensor technologies into DockSense, we are taking the stress out of docking and making the boating experience more enjoyable for everyone onboard.”
While not in the market place today, assisted docking technology is poised to revolutionize boat handling in the near the future. The upcoming demonstrations will be used to capture valuable market feedback that will help to work toward the adoption and commercialization of these advanced technologies.