Volvo Penta Creates the Future Helm Stations
Car drivers start their engines, electrical systems and instruments with the single push of a button.
In the boating world it’s not quite that simple – yet. Volvo Penta has started development work for integrated, modularized and more user-friendly helm stations for the boats of tomorrow. Volvo Penta is now presenting the first outlines of how these helm stations will be designed in the future. The development has more and more moved in the direction of the thinking in the automotive industry, with fully integrated and user-friendly driver environments.
Ergonomics and field of vision are two areas of the helm station where Volvo Penta has identified a great potential for improvement, and for this work Volvo Penta employs the advanced know-how that is available within other businesses in the Volvo Group; Trucks, Construction Equipment and Buses. These Volvo companies deliver products with professional driver environments with heavy demands on safety, field of vision and ergonomics, where the seats, the controls and instruments are optimized in order to create the best possible conditions for the driver.
“There’s a lot of inspiration to be gathered from here, for the boating industry as well,” says Anders Bondesson head of design at Volvo Penta, “and it’s only natural that we, in our role as supplier of the most important component of the boat’s energy system, are the ones pushing the fast technical developments of solutions that make life easier and safer for boat builders and boat owners alike.”
Volvo Penta’s vision for the future is to deliver complete and ergonomically optimized modules where the boat’s propulsion system is fully integrated with the navigation and communication instruments and all other electrical equipment on board.“Since the actual needs and the interior design differ so much between different boat types, we’ll never be able to design a driver environment that fits all boats, but we’ll be able to offer more standardized and intuitive solutions that take the driver’s needs into account much more than today,” says Anders Bondesson.
Volvo Penta has no time plan for when the complete new driver environments will be ready for the market, but already this year products such as Joystick Driving are launched. These products are important parts of the development towards increased integration between engine and instruments. “There are a lot of things going on in these areas and we want to take advantage of the new technology in order to create intuitive and user-friendly helm stations that make it possible for boaters to think less about navigation and the next docking and instead, with increased safety, enjoy their boating experience,” says Anders Bondesson.