A new assisted docking system developed by US-based FLIR Systems is intended for leisure boats but may have future application in the world of larger ships.
The Raymarine DockSense assisted docking system is described as the marine industry’s first intelligent object recognition and motion sensing assisted docking solution for recreational boating. The DockSense system uses FLIR machine vision camera technology and video analytics to integrate intelligence gathered from surrounding imagery with the vessel’s propulsion and steering system to assist boat owners in tight quarter docking manoeuvring. Additionally, FLIR announced that Prestige Yachts, a Groupe Beneteau brand, will become the first to demonstrate the technology.
Docking a boat can be a stressful experience, even for the most experienced captains. Often wind and tides make the task more difficult, and docking mishaps can become expensive repairs and safety hazards. The DockSense system is designed to augment a captain's boat handling skills using the system’s Virtual Bumper zone technology around the vessel. Should an object like a piling or another vessel encounter the Virtual Bumper, DockSense automatically introduces corrective steering and throttle commands to avoid the object and assist the captain in guiding the vessel to the dock.
DockSense uses global positioning system (GPS) and attitude heading reference system (AHRS) position sensing technology to compensate for the effects of wind and currents, ensuring the vessel enters the dock without drama or costly collisions. The Raymarine DockSense system includes multiple FLIR machine vision cameras, a central processing module, and the DockSense App running on Raymarine’s Axiom navigation display. The system integrates with modern joystick propulsion systems, providing assisted steering and throttle commands to help captains make a smooth arrival.
“Raymarine DockSense assisted docking system embodies our focus on solutions by combining FLIR navigation, machine learning, and sensing technologies,” said Jim Cannon, President, and CEO of FLIR. “Most importantly, we bring these innovations together into a simple solution that addresses a key customer challenge by taking the stress out of docking a boat and makes the boating experience safer and more enjoyable for everyone onboard.”