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