February 10 2019
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. Mercury Marine is a leading propulsion systems manufacturer of Brunswick Corporation and Raymarine is a leading marine electronics brand by FLIR Systems, Inc. and creator of the Raymarine DockSense™ assisted docking system.
Integrating Raymarine DockSense assisted-docking is a natural “next step” for Mercury, which introduced Zeus joystick docking, the world’s most advanced joystick system for pod drives, in 2007.
Axius, the first joystick system for sterndrive engines, followed a year later, and Mercury introduced Joystick Piloting for Outboards (JPO) in 2013. All three joystick systems deliver unparalleled control and performance, and all three were developed as precursors of autonomous vessel control.
“This demonstration extends Mercury’s role as the leader in marine propulsion,” said John Pfeifer, Mercury Marine president to Yachting Art Magazine. “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 powerful 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. This demonstrator provides an example as how Mercury’s technology is both high-performing and 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.