The New Dynamic Positioning System from Volvo Penta Is Like an Extra Hand - 06/23/2010
Volvo Penta Dynamic Positioning System

Since the introduction of the Inboard Performance System, better known by the acronym IPS and the advancement of the EVC (Electronic Vessel Control), Volvo Penta has been looking more like a software company than an engine company. We are all familiar with the enhanced performance and increased maneuverability that POD drive systems offer to even the novice captains, but remember that the concept is not new -- POD drive systems have been driving commercial ships for several decades. What are new, are the advancements in their operating controls.

Volvo Penta Dynamic Positioning System
The ability to navigate your boat laterally with the tilt of the joystick is easy and safe.

Many boaters are not aware of all the elements that go into a successful and effective POD drive system, but one element that is indispensable is the software and programming behind it. More and more propulsion systems available for recreational boats these days rely on software, and not just the kind of application we are used to seeing with computer-aided design or electronic engine function displays.

Volvo Penta Dynamic Positioning System

This software must make hundreds of calculations a second, integrate with GPS enabled components and communicate with and continuously update POD positioning and engine output settings. Perfecting this software is no less a task than Microsoft or Apple developing a new operating system.

Volvo Penta Dynamic Positioning System

Like a fly-by-wire aircraft, when you the boater interface with your boat through the joystick, you are actually interfacing with a computer, which is determining at what angle each pod should be positioned and what RPM setting will be optimal to achieve the desired directional control being inputted by the operator. Over the last few years, we have taken for granted the achievement of this and other systems like it given the extremely low number of anomalies and failures reported.

Volvo Penta

This past week Volvo Penta announced the latest evolution in recreational vessel control which they call The Dynamic Positioning System. Now we should not look at this Dynamic Positioning System as a “new” system or component, since in reality, it is a product of the ongoing evolution in software based around IPS and EVC.

VP Dynamic Positioning System

The Dynamic Positioning System is controlled by software that integrates with Volvo Penta’s electronic platform, EVC. In effect, it holds your boat stationary at a point on the water through GPS coordination with the IPS system. A special antenna with double GPS receivers supplies the system with exact information on the boat’s position. With the help of this information, the software controls engine revs, shift positions and the pods. The Dynamic Positioning System is activated by pressing a button on the joystick. Volvo Penta has also made a new 7” color display part of this system where the driver can have full situational awareness of his vessel and the status of the system. Volvo Penta also makes that point that when a vessel is functioning in Dynamic Positioning System mode, the engines are running and the props are turning so it is still considered “underway” and therefore you should always have an operator at the helm. For those of you wondering how you get this system, we are told it will be available as an option for all IPS diesel systems on 2010 models.


You can compare performance of the IPS500 on ten different models and boat types as well as research all the IPS system in our Volvo Penta section which is one of the largest databases of tested Volvo Penta power. Throttle forward here --

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