Launch and control your drone from the helm

- To check out our video of the system in action, visit boating

With marine multifunct­ion displays, you can look underwater with sonar, all around the boat with radar, and even peer through the dark with a thermal camera. Now you can also look down from above on your boat, thanks to the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) control feature built into the Raymarine Axiom and Axiom Pro MFDs.

This marine-electronic­s first allows boaters to connect to a UAV, then control the drone and view images from its camera using the Axiom display. The patent-pending technology is currently compatible with DJI Spark and DJI Mavic series UAV video drones (see “Compatible UAV Models”). Features include single-button launch/track/record functions, GPS link for various follow modes, and real-time video streaming to the MFD.

It works like this: First you need to update your Axiom or Axiom Pro with the latest Raymarine Lighthouse software — version 3.5 — a free download directly to the MFD. Then pair a drone such as the DJI Mavic Pro (shown left, $1,299, store with the MFD. Press Take Off to launch the UAV and track it with a live-chart display on one side of the Axiom split-screen display, which will show the drone’s location, along with the direction in which the camera is pointed, the direction the drone is headed, and the course back to the boat.

The other side of the split screen shows a live feed from the UAV’s video camera with data overlays that include the drone’s distance from the boat, as well as its speed and altitude.

A Fish-On button is designed to automatica­lly capture fishing action. As soon as you hook up (for example, while trolling for tuna or drifting for tarpon), you press the Hook-Up button. The drone instantly launches, acquires and tracks the boat, and starts recording aerial footage of the action. You can also view the action live on the Axiom display to see, for instance, if any mahi are following the one you just hooked.

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