I-Pad radar expanded

Mon, 01 December 2014

The introduction by Japanese electronics major, Furuno, of its radar system that is displayed on an I-Pad has been hailed as a major development in radar technology. Now Furuno is planning to expand the capability of its Nobeltec I-Pad radar by adding an electronic chart system into the I-Pad so that it becomes a fully functioning navigation system.

The DRS4W radar developed by Furuno features a 19" radome that houses the antenna and all the electronics for the system. This connects via a Local Area Network (LASN) to the I-Pad which allows all of the features of the radar to be displayed on the screen, giving, in effect a portable radar display that can be viewed anywhere in the boat. Now Furuno is planning to add a fully functioning electronic chart system into the system so that this radar information can be displayed as an overlay onto the electronic chart.

Furuno already offers this feature on its fixed radar units in common with most electronic manufacturers but offering both full radar and electronic chart systems combined on an I-Pad is a first for the marine electronic industry. The charts for this system will come from the MaxSea range of electronic charts with MaxSea now a subsidiary company of Furuno. It will offer full route planning and plotting facilities using GPS positioning information obtained from the integral GPS receiver in the I-Pad.

In addition to displaying the information on an I-Pad the full chart and radar system can also be used on an I-Phone although the viability of this may be questionable because of the small size of the display screen. Whilst the displays on both these units offer the flexibility to view the information anywhere in the boat, neither of the units is waterproof which will limit the locations in which it can be used and GPS reception from the integral receiver can be limited in enclosed spaces such as a wheelhouse. Both the radar and the chart system can be down-loaded as an App in the normal way with Apps for the I-Pad and I-Phone.

This development of using I-Phones and I-Pads as navigation tools and the use of wireless links on boats is part of a trend with modern navigation electronics. It will expand as Internet reception expands at sea which has been heralded as the next big development in marine electronics.

By Dag Pike

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