BOAT DRONES

Launch and con­trol your drone from the helm

Boating - - FRONT PAGE - To check out our video of the sys­tem in ac­tion, visit boat­ing mag.com/ray­ma­rine-uav.

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 .dji.com) 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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