IBEX 365 News
2022 IBEX Innovation Award Interview with Garmin
News Date: TBD, 2023
Garmin Surround View
In tight maneuvering situations, the Garmin Surround View Camera System is a video guidance breakthrough that brings the comforts and conveniences customers rely on in their vehicles to the helm of their yacht. The industry’s first fully integrated system of cameras to offer live bird’s-eye view video monitoring for full 360-degree visibility around the boat from the helm, it utilizes through-hull mounted cameras that act like multiple sets of eyes to help captains quickly view their vessel’s perimeter during low-speed maneuvers.
What problem does this product solve?
Docking a boat or navigating a narrow causeway or busy channel can be a stressful experience, even for the most seasoned captains. Surround View was designed to maximize visibility around a vessel and minimize blind spots to help captains quickly view their vessel’s perimeter during low-speed maneuvers, such as docking, from the helm. It provides an extra set of eyes for the captain that has not been available previously without having lookouts around the boat.
How did you become aware of this problem?
The luxury automotive industry pioneered technology that enabled drivers to have better visibility of the entire area around their vehicle. That bird’s eye view technology has grown in popularity and become a standard in many of today’s vehicles. Customers want that same level of comfort and convenience they rely on in their vehicles at the helm of their boat to help themselves or their captains see as much of the environment as possible for easier maneuvering on the water to help protect scrapes, crashes and close calls that can be both expensive and embarrassing.
Who is the target market for this product?
Our target market is original equipment manufacturers who make boats (power or sail) between 40-80’.
What is noteworthy about the technology used?
This system provides maximized visibility at the helm: the technology uses six 1080p cameras located around the vessel: a forward-looking camera at the bow, a rear-looking camera at the stern, and two side-looking cameras on both the port and starboard sides. When the system is engaged, it displays a full overhead stitched image with 360-degree real-time video views from around the vessel directly to compatible Garmin chartplotters or multi-function (MFD) helm displays. Designed to maximize visibility and minimize blind spots, captains can view one or two cameras simultaneously with the bird’s-eye image, and even zoom in and pan around on an area of interest within any of these views.
Additionally, the Surround View Camera System provides a number of augmented reality features for increased situational awareness and collision avoidance, including:
- Visual Bumper – provides a visual indicator at a user-configurable distance around the vessel that shows the captain when any non-water objects such as docks or piers breach the barrier.
- Distance Markers – offers visual cues around the vessel to the captain to aid in distance determinations while navigating in close quarters, similar to automotive backup camera systems.
How is it different from any other solution on the market?
Prior to Surround View, no other marine camera technology has offered a true 360-degree bird’s-eye view, a vantage point that provides captains with unprecedented situational awareness and a live look at their surroundings.
What obstacles did you encounter in the R&D process?
Every hull is different, so the cameras have to be placed intelligently to maximize coverage and minimize blind spots. Additionally, the cameras had to be robust and engineered to withstand the harsh marine environment – hits against docks and piers etc. – yet also small, unobtrusive and visually appealing. We also needed a very powerful processing system to handle the large amount of high-definition video, and at the same time, a robust processing box suitable for the marine environment.
What customizations are available to personalize this product?
Every hull is different, so we work closely with the boat builders to help identify the best locations for the cameras. The individual cameras have the capability of utilizing a field of view of 109-degree vertical x 188-degree horizontal. We cut custom sections optimized for each boat model out of that field of view to build the Birds-Eye view image. For the individual camera images, we crop out a de-warped custom view optimized for the position on the boat.
After the cameras are installed, we also help with the set-up and calibration to ensure the system is working as intended for the customer.
When in use, the customer can select which cameras to view and at what zoom level; they can enable or disable Distance Markers and the configurable Visual Bumper; and they can even choose to “mirror” the stern camera if they prefer a “rear-view-mirror” style viewpoint.
How has the product been received?
Seasoned professional captains have found Surround View intuitive to use and have started relying on the system when maneuvering in tight quarters while docking. Surround View has created a very different docking experience where the captain and crew no longer need to yell distances and observations to the captain.
Additional comments (anything else we should know?)
In addition to the 2022 IBEX Innovation Award, Surround View has won other industry accolades, including a DAME Design Award, SAIL Pittman Innovation Award, Boating Industry’s Top Product Award and a Best Electronics Award for Leading Edge Technology from the editors of Boating, Saltwater Sportsman, Cruising World and Yachting.
To see all the 2022 IBEX Innovation Award winners, click here.