The German-based navigation company Raytheon Anschütz announced the upcoming release of their new NautoPilot 5000 adaptive autopilot series, the successor of their NP 2000 autopilot series. The NP 5000 is based on the same Anschütz steering algorithms, but is enhanced to include highly advanced functions for economic and precise navigation such as an integrated steering performance display and a new course control operation mode.
The new autopilot’s most obvious feature certainly is its large graphical display which offers six different day and night modes within an intuitive to operate touch screen. The screen is designed in line with the colour palettes which are in use for the display systems of Radar, Chart-Radar and ECDIS. Clearly arranged functions are accessible via push buttons or the touch screen to ensure operation is kept as simple as possible.
The large display features an integrated heading and rudder plotter, which provides a graphical indication of heading changes and all used rudder angles. This indication instantaneously indicates the steering performance of the autopilot due to the effects of changes to parameter settings such as rudder, counter rudder and yawing. The operator benefits from simple adjustments of the autopilot’s settings to gain optimized steering performance, which results in minimal rudder action and thus reduced fuel consumption.
Another contribution to economic navigation and reduction in fuel consumption is achieved by the Eco-Mode of the autopilot, which provides the automatic adaptation to the current sea-state and weather. Periodical yawing movements which can be caused by roll and pitch will normally result in rudder actions with high amplitudes. As frequent rudder actions will not compensate the heading deviation due to environmental conditions, the autopilot reduces its sensitivity to such movements. As a result, the autopilot continuously adapts to current environmental conditions without a manual change of autopilot parameters. Subsequently less rudder action is required, which leads to lower levels of speed reduction and thus less fuel consumption.
The NP 5000 autopilot series features up to three possible modes of operation. Besides heading control, the new autopilot maintains the proven track control mode, allowing a vessel to steer automatically along a pre-planned route from the start to the end point of the route. Track control is executed with Category C accuracy which requires environmental conditions such as wind and drift to be compensated during track course changes. A new feature in the NP 5000 is “course control” as a third mode of operation. When steering in this mode, the autopilot compensates for drift automatically and keeps the vessel on the defined course over ground. Compared with the common heading control mode, this leads to a more precise course keeping capability and increased safety when steering the vessel.
The graphical display of all NP 5000 autopilots includes an indication of the track deviation and an integrated rudder angle indicator as a backup indication for the rudder angle indication system. The top of the range autopilot NP 5500 includes a high accuracy controller which has been designed for ships sailing in challenging sea areas such as archipelagos.
To further increase safety of life, ship and goods at sea, the NP 5000 autopilot series is available with an integrated acceleration monitor, which provides a warning if a pre-defined cross acceleration limit is exceeded. This helps to avoid damage or accident due to high acceleration stresses that might occur for example during a heading change at high speed.
NP 5000 will be available for installations in the third quarter of 2010.