Yanmar reveals autonomous boats and auto-docking results

Yanmar plans to spin-off commercial applications from its research into an autonomous boat Yanmar plans to spin-off commercial applications from its research into an autonomous boat

Yanmar has revealed results from its research into robotic boats and auto-docking, which it plans to develop into commercial applications.

Yanmar has been working to combine its background in marine engineering with its research into underlying IT and robotics technologies, to develop robotic boat technologies that can be used in marine surveys and infrastructure inspection.

Yanmar has produced a 1.8-tonne Robotic Boat demonstration vehicle. The vessel features Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) in its construction, helping it to right itself after being overturned in rough seas. The company has developed compact, low cost manufacturing processes for FRP, owing to its experience.

A second feature of the vessel was the use of a middleware platform, permitting various modules to be integrated into the platform. This allowed the technology to be customised to meet the needs of various business and research users. By implementing a common platform for Yanmar’s robotics technology, product development times can be reduced.

The demonstration boat 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, while expanding the program for commercial use by industry.

Yanmar also plans to commercialise the autonomous piloting technology used for the robotic boat, developing it into an auto-docking system that can be integrated into fishing vessels or marine pleasure craft. This technology is not destined just for commercial vessels but may be integrated into Yanmar vessels to simplify docking and make boating a more enjoyable experience.

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