Looking for a new autopilot? It's worth considering this one. The Evolution Autopilot by Raymarine has won top honours at the 2013 National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) International Marine Electronics Conference & Expo, winning the NMEA-BWI Technology Award.
The NMEA event, held at the San Diego Sheraton Hotel & Marina recently, was attended by representatives of leading marine electronics manufacturers, dealers, distributors, media, and others from the United States and abroad.
Three members of Boating Writers International (BWI) selected the winners from a dozen entries of recently introduced marine electronics products, based on innovation, benefit to boaters, practicality, and value.
In presenting the award, head judge Bill Bishop, who writes The Marine Installer's Rant blog, said, 'The new Raymarine autopilot, after a simple dockside set-up, automatically teaches itself how to steer the boat, and linearizes the compass. This artificial intelligence feeling system eliminates the traditional sea trial autopilot calibration, and when coupled with the mount-almost-anywhere heading sensor made it a technology stand out.' Bishop is also a contributor to Practical Sailor and owns Parmain Boatworks.
Runners-up were Nobeltec's TimeZero app (first) and Garmin's quatix marine watch (second).
The heart of the Evolution system is Raymarine's EV sensor core, which contains a nine-axis sensor system for precise monitoring of pitch, roll, yaw, and heading. It also contains all of the autopilot's guidance electronics. This reduces the size of the traditional autopilot core pack to an ultracompact five-inch disc that can be mounted just about anywhere above or below decks.
After installation is complete, the Evolution Autopilot requires virtually no calibration.
A Dockside Wizard collects a few basic parameters about drive type and rudder, after which the vessel is ready to get underway. The previous task of compass linearization has been replaced by a fully automatic background routine that runs while the vessel is underway. Simultaneously Evolution's AI algorithms go to work immediately to develop a baseline steering configuration for the vessel. Rudder gain, counter rudder, and other variables are calculated and updated automatically.
About the NMEA:
Founded in 1957, the NMEA has led the way in establishing technical standards for data exchange in marine electronics, with the widely accepted NMEA 0183 data protocol, NMEA 2000® and certification standards for marine electronics technicians. NMEA standards and programs focus on insuring that the boating consumer is provided with reliable products and professional service. For more information, visit the NMEA website at www.NMEA.org