Yanmar Develops Auto-navigation Robotic Boat, Auto-docking System

By, MarineLink

Photo: Yanmar

Yanmar has undertaken development of underlying technologies for robotic boats and auto-docking, technologies that are expected to see service in operations in dangerous waters, maritime surveys, or smart fisheries.

While development of autonomous vehicles for the road and the farm continues apace, maritime robotics technologies have yet to become established. With long established track record of R&D in various fields of robotics and IT, Yanmar has been working to meld the hardware side of its boatbuilding and recreational marine domains with basic development of underlying IT and robotics technologies, towards robotic boat technologies that can be used in the marine surveys and infrastructure inspection.

The Robotic Boat demonstration vehicle developed by Yanmar utilizes Yanmar’s expertise in Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) to realize a compact, low cost manufacturing processes. In addition, by implementing a platform that utilizes middleware, a system was created that can address various needs. The demonstration boat was developed under the Strategic Innovation Program for next generation technology for oceanic resources explorationand 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.

In addition, 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. This technology is not destined just for commercial vessels, but may be integrated into Yanmar vessels to reduce the hassle of docking and make boating a more enjoyable experience.

At a glance …

  • Dimensions: 4.4m × 1.9m × 1.8m
  • Weight: 1.8 tons
  • Max. speed: 5 knots
  • Navigation speed: 3 knots
  • Operational duration: more than 48 hours
  • Powerplant: Diesel generator / 2nd generation batteries
  • InstrumentationDifferential GPS (DGPS), Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP), Super Short BaseLine navigation (SSBL)
  • Communications Technology: Wireless LAN (Wifi), L band and Ka band satellite communications, Iridium satellite communications, public wireless broadband
  • Monitoring equipment: 1 IR camera, 3 x 120°angle HD camera, Radar, 1 x AIS


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