Electronics and Semiconductors

CES 2023: Electric boats emerge in force

06 January 2023
The floating island concept from Volvo Penta could provide sustainable life on the water with electric recharging for boats and hotels and restaurants for people to live. Source: Volvo Penta

One of the more unexpected developments that happened at CES 2023 this week was the emergence of several electric boat announcements.

Looking to capitalize on the explosion of electrification of all vehicles, boats seem to be following the trend from automotive OEMs to take advantage of consumer interest as well as government mandates regarding climate change.

Boating for all

It may look like something straight out of the movie “Waterworld,” but Volvo Penta came to CES with a new concept for boats and structures centered on living on water.

Volvo Penta bills it as the future boating experience with new leisure boats focusing on sustainability that includes a floating platform to provide a future on the water — protecting both life above and below the surface while delivering the same experiences.

The concept includes boating as a service, a subscription based, on-demand platform that is patterned after boat clubs but that anyone can utilize. Volvo Penta said it could immediately increase the audience for boating with packages sold to newcomers and experienced boaters.

The floating structure could extend the experience beyond just boating with a self-sustaining, man-made offshore island that could serve to charge electric boats or act as a hub for hotels, restaurants and more all on the water.

Navier has introduced an auto docking feature for its hydrofoil boat that uses computer vision and sensors to estimate a boat’s location to its dock. Source: Navier Navier has introduced an auto docking feature for its hydrofoil boat that uses computer vision and sensors to estimate a boat’s location to its dock. Source: Navier

Electric hydrofoil

Two electric hydrofoil boat announcements were made at CES 2023.

The first was from Navier, a U.S.-based company developing these boats, introducing a new autodocking feature aimed at making boat ownership easier for beginners. With a click of a button the autonomous technology uses computer vision and sensors to estimate the location of the boat to the selected slip while compensating for external disturbances such as wind or avoiding an obstacle.

Navier’s hydrofoil boat, called the N30, performs docking maneuvers such as pure translational and turning movements and once in final docking position, the auto docking system keeps the boat in a fixed position to allow it to dock. The boat could also be manually docked via a joystick at the helm.

The second announcement came from Candela announcing its C-8 prototype hydrofoil boat that will be in serial production sometime this year. The company will also start a public transit pilot project this year and test how well the boats can manage as an alternative to traditional ferries.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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