FLIR, a world-leader in thermal imaging products, has introduced a series of new technologies that offer enhanced situational awareness for recreational users, opening the door to safer navigation in poor visibility, and enabling then to executing flawless marina manoeuvres.
The flagship M364C and M364C LR models of FLIR’s latest M300 Series fixed-mount cameras use clever integration of thermal and visible imagery to enhance the basic thermal picture with sharper edge detail and colour, making it easier to distinguish navigation marks and running lights.
Making the cameras easier to use and interpret earns them a place in a boat’s list of must-have technology. Thermal imaging offers a set of ‘eyes’ unaffected by poor visibility, filling in the close-quarters gap – where radar starts to struggle – with a detailed image of the boat’s surroundings. Warmer objects especially become easier to spot, whether it is the heat signature from another vessel’s engine or, crucially, a person in the water.
Clever post-processing of high-resolution images is not limited to FLIR’s fixed-mount thermal cameras. Stereoscopic imaging technology is key to the other major innovation recently announced by the company, this time under the Raymarine brand. DockSense™ is an intelligent object recognition and motion-sensing assisted docking solution, bringing to boats the same revolution that parking sensors and cameras brought to cars. DockSense™ Alert detects, displays and alerts the helm to obstacles around the boat using machine vision camera technology and video analytics, making mooring a boat significantly easier and safer, while DockSense adds throttle and helm assistance, taking corrective action should a hazard appear within a protective Virtual Bumper zone around the boat.
Fusing image data from several different sources is key to pioneering research being carried out into autonomous control, both on land and sea. As a leading developer of high-accuracy camera technology, FLIR are well placed to bring further innovation in this field – it is certainly an area to watch for the future.