It was only a matter of time before the software that MerCruiser created to operate its diesel Zeus pod drive system was adopted for sterndrive use. By simply removing the tie-rod that has historically connected both lower units, the Axius system can now operate each of the lower drive units independently, just as it controls the Zeus pod drives.
What all of this means is that close-quarters steering of twin sterndrives will now be so easy anyone can do it. Conventional “steering-with-shifts” is replaces with the tri-axial steering of the joystick. Boaters need only point the joystick with a twist of the wrist and the boat will respond in the direction that the driver wants to go.
Joystick Sales Soar
Independent boat builders who have been installing the Volvo Penta IPS system with joystick report that the ease of joystick docking has been responsible for market-share increases wherever the systems have been installed. Most industry observers feel that the new “fly-by-wire” technology will change the way people go boating.
Eventhough MerCruiser announced the new system for sterndrives in June, the first boat has yet to be officially announced using the Axius system. In Britain, Sealine’s SC 29 is said to be slated for conversion to the Axius system, but, if true, details have yet to be published.
Industry sources have said that delays in working out bugs in the software might be part of the problem, and certainly there has been a delay in rolling out the “Skyhook” feature for Axius. Also, changeovers to radically new products in the marine industry are often problematical due to the two-step distribution employed by most builders.
To see videos of a prototype employing the “Axius” system (formerly known as Apollo) click on the links below.
Capt. Rob Smith interviews the man behind the revolutionary Apollo System, Reinhard Burk...
This Sterndrive spins on a dime and moves sideways as easy as a twist of the wrist... see video.
Changing from Joystick to conventional steering is automatic... see video.
See Savannah dock like a pro every time... great video.