Not to be outdone by Volvo Penta, Yanmar announced the sea trials of a completely autonomous robotic boat, as well as self-docking systems. The autonomous boat enables boating operation in dangerous waters, maritiime surveys, and fishersies. Yanmar stated that related technology also enables self-docking for recreational boats.

There’s no doubt that autonomous boating is picking up steam in 2019. The early applications in recreational boating are focused on automating docking, which for many boaters is the most stressful part.

Yanmar shows off its self-docking tech.

The Yanmar autonomous boat demonstration vehicle utilizes Yanmarʼs expertise in Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) to deliver a compact, low cost manufacturing processes. The demonstration boat resulted from work within its Strategic Innovation Program.

The Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology will use the early units of the autonomous boats. Future Yanmar autonomous activities will involve further marine testing with universities and research institutes.

Yanmar developed an autonomous boat with JAMSTEC, the Japanese government agence for marine science.

Yanmar stated that the autonomous boat includes a self-docking system that can be integrated into fishing vessels or marine pleasure craft. The self-docking system integrares RTK-GNSS tech to make self-docking incredibly precise.

Real-time kinematic (RTK) positioning is a satellite navigation technique that enhances the precision of position data. This includes global navigation satellite systems, such as GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou. It uses measurements of the phase of the signal’s carrier wave in addition to the information content of the signal to achieve centimetre-level accuracy.

Deployment in recreational boats will take place after 2020. Research into core robotic boat technology is ongoing.

The self-docking system from Yanmar works with centimeter precision for a variety of docking situations.