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Smart autopilot


Smart autopilot

by brucewacker » Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:33 pm

With all the inertial electronics we carry around in our phones these days I'm wondering if that technology has gotten into autopilots and marine instruments in general. For instance, the wind vane and anemometer at the top of the mast are subject to the wild gyrations of the mast which show up to some degree in the wind speed and direction data. Flux gates are also sensitive to pitch and roll, causing magnetic heading variations. And gps coordinates bounce around and could be stabilized using inertial feedback so the autopilot, for instance wouldn't be chasing GPS fluctuations and the GPS speed wouldn't make it look like my 14 ton boat is jerking through the water (and even be usable to calculate accurate current speed and direction).

So if you know anything about instrument manufacturers doing any of the above I'd like to hear about it.

Fair winds and thanks,

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Re: Smart autopilot

by Scott Berg » Wed Jan 18, 2017 6:43 pm

All most all do; look for the term 'rate gyro.' W-H, for example, offers an upgrade from the fluxgate... most new pilots are all rate gyro based...

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Re: Smart autopilot

by Capt Major » Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:06 am

Rate Gyros used to be available for Raymarine Autopilots. The new RM pilots like the EVOxxx has a built in rate gyro. If you need one for an older pilot I can connect you with a source. The unit lets you change the response rate on your auto to smooth the boat out for ARPA/MARPA tracking while underway. If you really want to spend alot of money buy and install an Inertial Stabilization system. You may have to find a supplemental power source to run it however.
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Re: Smart autopilot

by FAST FRED » Sat Jun 03, 2017 9:00 am

NON problem,

Most GPS do not update that often so any readout is not instant , but mix of the past min or so.
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Re: Smart autopilot

by colemj » Sun Jun 11, 2017 7:59 am

Any GPS from the last decade or so has at least a 1Hz update rate. Our two main GPS's update at 10Hz. Both have damping settings. It would be a very old GPS indeed that updated every minute or so.

Autopilots typically don't use GPS COG for heading, but rather a magnetic or satellite compass (which does use GPS, but in a different way than the typical CP GPS). All modern heading sensors are stabilized by rate gyros and accelerometers (some 9-axis), and they provide 10-20Hz update frequencies. The higher the update frequency the better for autopilots - they internally handle this. Good wind instruments do the same.

As for the jittery ship icon, Most plotters and instruments should have adjustable damping functions for both heading sensor and GPS.

So the answer to the OP is yes, all current offerings by the major instrument manufacturers contain the precision and stabilization functionality you want. Some (NKE, B&G, Simrad for AP; Maretron, Airmar, NKE, certain model B&G for wind) do this better than others.

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