(Image: Sperry Marine)

Sperry Marine Debuts Self-tuning Autopilot


Sperry Marine has unveiled NAVIPILOT 4500N, a networked, self-tuning, fully adaptive heading control system. The first in a new series of autopilot systems, NAVIPILOT 4500N is designed to deliver improved course-keeping with reduced fuel consumption and a lower workload on the bridge, the company said.

NAVIPILOT 4500N delivers the heading control performance that users expect from Sperry Marine, minimizing unwanted rudder motion and lowering drag, thereby saving fuel and contributing to greater efficiency. To further improve system performance, NAVIPILOT 4500N can be closely coupled with Sperry Marine’s fiber optic gyrocompasses NAVIGAT 2500 or NAVIGAT 3500.

The latest in a program of networked bridge navigation products, Sperry Marine designed NAVIPILOT 4500N with several unique features. In addition to minimizing oversteer and facilitating incremental heading progression, NAVIPILOT adjusts the rudder control for the individual squat, trim and load of a particular vessel on a particular voyage.

Because even vessels of the same design will handle differently, NAVIPILOT 4500N continues its self-tuning during the voyage, adapting in real time to external factors such as trim changes due to fuel usage and different cargo loading parameters and longer term changes in behavior as the vessel ages.

Steering performance can also be tailored for different weather conditions and heading keeping requirements, functions which have proven to help to save fuel in difficult weather conditions by optimizing rudder lift and drag performance. Further features to be made available include support for track control with Sperry Marine VisionMaster ECDIS and support for high speed craft operations or a combination of both.

NAVIPILOT 4500N is intuitive in operation, with a dial wheel to modify heading, hardware activation buttons for safer operation, a 7” color touch display for access to displays and menus and selectable modes for rate/radius turn mode or rudder limit modes, Sperry Marine said.

Easy to install with reduced components, standard network cabling and connections, the system forms part of Sperry Marine’s ‘connected bridge’ concept which enables remote maintenance and diagnostics as part of a 'Smart Support’ package to support maximum vessel availability. NAVIPILOT 4500N can be flexibly integrated into existing installations to provide the same benefits to existing vessels.

“Vessel owners and operators face closely related challenges; the need to reduce fuel consumption and emissions while continuing to sail safely and in compliance in all conditions; for that they need a partner who can combine experience with innovation to help them towards their goals,” said James Collett, Managing Director, Sperry Marine. “The NAVIPILOT family is designed to support enhanced voyage safety and efficiency with unique features that reduce the workload for the bridge team and leverage our expertise in the next generation of networked navigation technology.”

NAVIPILOT 4500N will be MED type approved by September 2022.