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Boston Whaler and Raymarine demonstrate the power of AI

by Traci Davis 4 Feb 2019 17:27 UTC
Boston Whaler 330 Outrage © Boston Whaler

Marine industry leaders Boston Whaler and Raymarine will demonstrate the revolutionary DockSense assisted docking system for the media on Feb. 1 at a central Florida test center, and again at the 2019 Miami International Boat Show on February 14. Boston Whaler is a leading boat brand of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC), and Raymarine is a brand by FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR).

Both marine industry leaders with a long track record of business cooperation, Boston Whaler and Raymarine are collaborating to demonstrate an assisted-docking system for outboards that promises to improve the overall boating experience by making docking easier.

"Interest and adoption of autonomous technology is growing across most mobility applications and this path is a natural next step for Boston Whaler, which has brought a steady stream of advanced technologies to the recreational boating marketplace," said Boston Whaler President Nick Stickler.

"Boston Whaler was an early adopter of close-quarters handling technologies like Mercury Marine's Joystick Piloting for Outboards (JPO) providing boaters previously unattainable confidence and control on the water," Stickler explained. "The adoption and seamless integration of advanced technology are among the many reasons supporting our strong growth and the well-earned reputation of the Boston Whaler brand heritage."

At the upcoming demonstrations, Raymarine's new DockSense assisted-docking system will be featured on a 33-foot Boston Whaler Outrage, which is rigged with twin Mercury Marine Verado engines with JPO and additional controls. DockSense is designed to complement a captain's boat-handling skills using the system's Virtual Bumper zone technology around the vessel. The Raymarine system uses advanced vision technology to sense and identify potential obstacles in the vessel's path, providing the necessary inputs to allow the boat's JPO system to autonomously respond and ensure a smooth docking process.

"We are pleased to continue the longstanding relationship with Boston Whaler to provide their customers with innovative solutions that make docking easier and their boating experience more enjoyable," said Travis Merrill, FLIR Commercial Business Unit President. "By combining FLIR navigation, machine learning, and sensing technologies, Raymarine DockSense provides assisted steering and throttle commands to help captains make a smooth arrival."

"At Boston Whaler, we consistently strive to offer our owners the greatest boating experiences," said Stickler. "Investing in the pursuit of the next great boating innovation is consistent with our goal of providing the best boats and newest technologies on the water."

While DockSense isn't available in the marketplace today, the companies are using the upcoming demonstrations to capture valuable market feedback, which will help guide further refinements at the recently announced 45,000-square-foot Brunswick Fiberglass Boat Technology Center in Edgewater.

"Through such collaboration and focusing our considerable technical skills, companies such as Raymarine and Boston Whaler will continue to work toward the adoption, integration and commercialization of these advanced technologies," Stickler concluded.

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