New Electronics and Technology at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show
The marine industry keeps surprising boaters when it comes to new technology and electronic innovation. At the 2022 Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show, we saw a fully functioning autonomous outboard-powered vessel capable of navigating a route and autodocking on its own thanks to a suite of cameras, artificial intelligence and LIDAR technology.
Avikus, HD Hyundai’s startup based in South Korea, marries high-tech outboards and joystick technology with sensors and learning software. To autodock the Avikus Neuboat, the captain “maps” the slip with the LIDAR, and then lets the computer take over the steering and propulsion. Captains can monitor or alter their course using a tablet.
New pulse-compression radar from Simrad — 2000 and 3000 Halo open arrays — deliver a higher-power bird mode that allows anglers to find feathered fish finders like shearwaters and terns — up to 8 nm away. Halo also features ZoneTrack and VelocityTrack, which help captains identify approaching vessels and potential hazards.
Multifaceted stabilization systems from Seakeeper (Ride) and Humphree (Lightning) are going well beyond minimizing roll to control pitch, yaw and list aboard even the smallest boats.
Other innovation is coming from boat manufacturers like Boston Whaler, which created a transforming helm seat aboard its new 280 Dauntless. The seat moves over the helm unit to form an aft-facing bench while leaving a leaning post forward for the captain.
And of course, electric-outboard technology has continued to filter into the smaller-vessel markets, where range is less crucial, as battery technology evolves.
As we look ahead, we expect to see even more maritime innovation at the Miami International Boat Show in February.
Even without stabilization, the steady picture enhances nighttime navigation.
New EPIRBs and PLB also allow boaters to monitor their devices with a mobile app.
Electric power might be all the rage, but it has its limitations.
Vehicle autonomy on land has led to vessel autonomy at sea, and more practical uses for self-steering boats.