Elec­tron­ics

Ray­ma­rine’s ClearCruise Aug­mented Re­al­ity tech­nol­ogy looks to be an ex­cel­lent tool for bol­ster­ing sit­u­a­tional aware­ness.

Power & Motor Yacht - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Ben Stein

De­signed to boost sit­u­a­tional aware­ness, Ray­ma­rine’s ClearCruise brings aug­mented re­al­ity to a boater’s ar­se­nal.

At last year’s In­ter­na­tional BoatBuilders’ Ex­hi­bi­tion and Con­fer­ence (IBEX), I was a judge for the In­no­va­tion Awards. We spent four days ex­pe­ri­enc­ing all sorts of new ma­rine tech­nol­ogy—some not worth men­tion­ing, but over­all a fine swath of up­dated prod­ucts. The win­ner for the OEM elec­tron­ics cat­e­gory was Ray­ma­rine’s ClearCruise Aug­mented Re­al­ity (AR), and I have to say I’m pretty ex­cited by its po­ten­tial.

I’ve seen a few giz­mos like this be­fore, and most of them left me feel­ing more nau­seous than ex­cited. So, when I climbed aboard Ray­ma­rine’s test boat I wasn’t sure if I was go­ing to see a use­ful tool or a poorly sta­bi­lized jumble you wouldn’t want to use. Within min­utes of leav­ing the dock it was very clear (no pun in­tended) that Ray­ma­rine’s im­ple­men­ta­tion is well thought out and will be, I think, a gen­uinely use­ful ad­di­tion for sit­u­a­tional aware­ness. ClearCruise AR strikes me as the next log­i­cal step af­ter ClearCruise, FLIR’s IR cam­era for ob­ject iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Over the last few years, I’ve cov­ered a lit­tle shy of 10,000 nau­ti­cal miles in un­fa­mil­iar waters. Shortly af­ter my fam­ily started cruis­ing se­ri­ously I bought a pair of sta­bi­lized binoc­u­lars pri­mar­ily to help iden­tify the num­bers on buoys. From my brief ride I think ClearCruise AR will re­duce my use of binoc­u­lars quite a bit and make the task of iden­ti­fy­ing ATONs as sim­ple as a quick glance.

The sys­tem has three com­po­nents. First, a cam­era—lim­ited cur­rently to Ray­ma­rine CAM210 or CAM220 (with FLIR ther­mal cam­era sup­port com­ing). Sec­ond is Ray­ma­rine’s new AR200 video sta­bi­liza­tion sys­tem which con­tains a high-speed GPS re­ceiver, at­ti­tude and head­ing ref­er­ence sys­tem (AHRS). The third com­po­nent is an Ax­iom, Ax­iom Pro or Ax­iom XL MFD.

Setup is sim­ple. The sys­tem needs to know the field of view of the cam­era, con­firm the hori­zon in the video im­age and the di­rec­tion the cam­era is fac­ing. It sup­ports both for­ward- and aft­fac­ing cam­eras and tog­gling be­tween the two is eas­ily done. The IP cam­eras, which re­quire power, plug into the back of an Ax­iom or a switch on the Ray­ma­rine SeaTalkhs network. (The AR-200 is a NMEA-2000 de­vice.)

With the sys­tem con­fig­ured and AIS, way­points or ATONs vis­i­ble on the hori­zon, the sys­tem then be­gins dis­play­ing flags above these ob­jects. The range and an icon in­di­cat­ing the tar­get type is dis­played. Dan­ger­ous tar­gets are shown with a red border. Icons that are rep­re­sented in­clude AIS tar­gets, way­points and chart ob­jects; click­ing each one tog­gles vis­i­bil­ity of that ob­ject type. At press time, radar tar­gets tracked via MARPA can’t be dis­played in ClearCruise AR, but Ray­ma­rine says that’s com­ing in a fu­ture re­lease.

Any ob­ject dis­played in the ClearCruise AR view can be clicked on to view ad­di­tional de­tails. The type of de­tails will vary by ob­ject type but fol­low the nor­mal Light­House III be­hav­ior for each dis­tinct ob­ject.

Dur­ing my ClearCruise AR demo ride, I noted how good the images looked on the big 16-inch Ax­iom XL dis­plays at the helm of the Ray­ma­rine demo boat, and I think big dis­plays are where this fea­ture will re­ally shine. Range is pretty easy to cal­i­brate by click­ing the range in­di­ca­tor dis­played near the im­age (see above). The cur­rent cam­eras sup­ported are all fixed, so range ad­just­ments only af­fect the dis­tance over which ClearCruise AR tar­gets are dis­played.

ClearCruise AR will be avail­able with Light­House 3.7, which Ray­ma­rine says will be re­leased soon. The eye­ball CAM220 car­ries a list price of $499, the bul­let CAM210 is $699 and the AR200’s list price is $499.

Ray­ma­rine’s Ax­iom XL dis­plays are a fine match to the de­tail pro­vided via its ClearCruise AR tech.

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