Yanmar and JAMSTEC are developing technologies for robotic boats and auto-docking that are expected to be used for maritime surveys and dangerous water operations.
The Robotic Boat demonstration vehicle developed by Yanmar uses Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) for a compact, low cost manufacturing process. The FRP design also provides additional stability, allowing the vessel to right itself after being overturned in rough seas.
Using a middleware platform, various modules can be integrated into the platform customising the technology to meet the needs of the various business and research users.
The demonstration boat was developed under the Strategic Innovation Program for next generation technology for oceanic resources exploration and will be operated as an Autonomous Surface Vehicle by the Japan Agency for Marine Earth Science and Technology for continuous marine resources monitoring.
Future activities will involve further marine testing with universities and research institutes, and expansion of the program to commercial use by industry.
The autonomous piloting technology involved in the robotic boat was developed into an auto-docking system that can be integrated into fishing vessels or marine pleasure craft to reduce docking hassle. The system utilises RTK- GNSS which takes satellite positioning technology together with corrective data from Yanmar’s proprietary digital repeater system to provide highly precise positioning data to accurately direct the boat into the designated dock or location. This eliminates the need for the operator to be engaged in docking the boat.
The technology is to be applied not just to commercial vessels, but also to Yanmar’s recreational marine and fishing vessels in Japan, with deployment commencing after 2020. Research into core robotic boat technology is ongoing.
Originally published on Digital Ship.