April 4th, 2018 | PRODUCT

Easy to Steer, Regardless of the Boat

- A Word from the Development Team -

Technology continues to be our biggest asset thanks to our founder's philosophy "To conserve fuel is to serve mankind". In this article we will give you an idea of the ways that Yanmar engineers are realizing A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE through product development.

Drive Marines Sales Growth with a Comprehensive Lineup

Yanmar's lightweight, high power diesel engines are a formidable force in the international pleasure boat market. However, in today's market, alongside superior engine power, consumers also want superior steering systems. "At Yanmar while we sell products equipped with systems sourced from OEMs, as we also have our own system development division, we wanted to design a system that builds on our strengths in engine and drive production," said Akiyoshi.
We began research into developing a steering system for twin sterndrives*. We knew that with independent control of the rudder angle and propulsion of each drive, the steering system would allow for 360 degree rotations. And, by 2009 we started development of the Yanmar JC10 Joystick System.

A Steering System Suitable for All Boats

Theoretically, we knew that control of the rudder angle and propulsion would allow for unrestricted movement. Yet in practice, the boat went in the opposite direction in our first test.After testing out various hypotheses, we found that the boat's weight and shape were also affecting the steering. "Our goal was to create a system that is compatible with boats of all sizes and shapes. The main challenge was formulating control algorithms that would enable this," said Naohiro, who oversaw design of the JC10. After trial and error, we devised a new way that better reflected the motions of a boat. This meant that control settings could now be easily configured by the boat builder or servicing technician after shipment. "We are proud to offer a system that delivers optimal control for every boat," boasted Naohiro.

Testing Against the Power of Nature: Extreme Data from Rough Waters

The next step in the JC series began in 2013 with development of a dynamic positioning system for maintaining the steady positioning on the ocean when waiting to moor or refueling at maritime fueling stations. The automated control of the JC10 system enables the boat to maintain its position despite unpredictable natural forces such as wave, wind and tidal forces.
To achieve this, we mapped out a system that dynamically adjusts the boats propulsion in line with the forces being applied to the boat calculated by on board positioning sensors that measure the boats heading and GPS data. "We tried to create a system that allows bigger, heavier boats to maintain position accuracy within a 1 meter radius," said system designer, Gakuji. "We tested the system under various conditions to understand the outside forces that a boat is subject to on the water." "We needed data obtained in both fair and severe weather conditions, deliberately trying to capsize the vessel in rough waters. The process was viewed via a monitor, causing some members to get seasick," reflected Daisuke.

Fun on the Ocean

The resulting JC10 released in 2012, and the dynamic positioning system in 2015, have become major players in our line of marine products that deliver extensive customer value. We're not at the end of the road with the JC series. The same functionality for boats that aren't equipped with twin engines and automatic steering are currently in the pipeline. "Customers want innovation and innovating is what we do best, so we will continue to produce new systems that exceed expectations," said Gakuji. Let's continue to deliver thrilling products packed with our top performing technology.

  • vessel equipped with two engines and propellers.

Joystick Control System

<Development Personnel>

Akiyoshi Hayashi
Marine Recreational Promotion Div., Yanmar Co., Ltd.
【Profile】 Joined Yanmar in 1993. Until recently, Akiyoshi oversaw the design of autonomous driving systems alongside ag equipment control and electronic devices. In addition to the JC series project, Akiyoshi has been a key player in the development of our steering system.

Naohiro Hara
Fundamental Technology Research Div., Research & Development Center
【Profile】 Joined Yanmar in 2008. Naohiro initially was in charge of marine pleasure system and control system development at the electronic development center (prev. name).
Currently, at the research division he is working on fundamental technology related to robotic vision such as image recognition.

Gakuji Tamura
Electronic Control Development Div., Research & Development Center
【Profile】 Joined Yanmar in 2011. Gakuji started out in the testing of horizontal controls for tractor implements. From 2012, he commenced work on the development of marine pleasure systems, overseeing the designing of the dynamic positioning system for the JC series.

Daisuke Irahara
Electronic Control Development Div., Research & Development Center
【Profile】 Joined Yanmar in 2014. Daisuke has been involved in the JC series since joining Yanmar, where his key duties were the testing of the dynamic positioning system.

Dynamic Positioning System

Drawing Upon the Laws of Physics to Improve Steering

Shore docking and rotations in tight ports used to require skill, now it just requires a joystick. With controllability based on the science of how boats move, our steering system is suitable for boats of all shapes and sizes. Dynamic positioning system enables vessels to maintain position accuracy to within a one meter radius in unpredictable waters. When it comes to the ocean, Yanmar has got every step covered.

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