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ContinuousWave: Small Boat Electrical
Auto-routing in North America
|Author||Topic: Auto-routing in North America|
posted 12-29-2014 01:13 PM ET (US)
When my electronic chart plotter is powered-on, before it can be used I have to acknowledge and agree to the following screen:
The screen also has a lot to say about any weather information that might be provided:
Operation of the device cannot continue until the user pushes an AGREE button. Language almost identical to this or very similar appears on many electronic navigation devices.
It has been noted recently that certain models of electronic chart plotter provide a feature called Auto-Routing. Auto-Routing usually can generate a suggested route from one point to another in a manner that avoids the route crossing shoals or other hazards. In introducing some new products, NAVICO recently included Auto-Routing features, but has intentionally disabled those features in devices sold into North American markets, and even gone to the trouble of geo-fencing the feature on devices sold to the rest-of-world markets so that Auto-Routing will not work in North America. With all those disclaimers already on their products about how not to rely on them for navigatin, it seems odd that a new feature, Auto-routing, would be shut off in some products only for North America.
quote:Cf.: http://www.simrad-yachting.com/en-US/Products/ NSS-Touchscreen-Navigation/NSS9-evo2-en-us.aspx
On the other hand, Garmin is selling chart plotters in North American with a feature they call Auto-guidance.
There are several possible explanations for this situation where one company is selling auto-routing chart plotters in North America while others are not.
The first speculation that comes to mind is mentioned in Garmin's statement above: their method is protected by patent in North America. Perhaps Garmin's competitors are reluctant to license the technology or reluctant to test the waters of patent infringement.
A second speculation is that the chart plotter maker, in this case Navico, is reluctant to offer the feature in North American due to fear of litigation for liability for damages caused by use of the feature. This may not be a reasonable speculation because, as can be seen in the standard disclaimer presented, their devices are not to be relied upon as a primary source of navigation.
A third speculation is the makers of the electronic charts are not willing to risk litigation in North America for liability for damages by use of the feature. This is possible because in the case of Garmin, the charts are made by Garmin themselves, while in the case of Navico, the charts are often made by a chart publisher and used under license.
In any of the three speculations, the outcome is the same: you cannot use the auto-routing features of Navico chart plotters in North America.
posted 12-30-2014 08:52 AM ET (US)
[Auto-routing is] not really a feature I would use anyway.
posted 01-07-2015 12:19 PM ET (US)
Lets see, auto-routing hooked up to an auto-pilot, why you don't even need to be there except to drink beer.
What a deal!
posted 01-08-2015 08:02 AM ET (US)
I am surprised the same type of message or warning doesn't pop up on the windshield when you turn on the cruise-control in your car.
posted 01-08-2015 10:35 AM ET (US)
Having an autopilot that can follow a route with multiple legs is not particularly new or notable. Usually the multi-leg route would be created by the navigator. The auto-routing feature lets the chart plotter create the multi-leg route to a destination.
Regarding automobile navigation and auto-piloting, the technology is evolving. One aspect for on-road navigation is to have very good position locating of the vehicle, usually by a global navigation satellite system. As the position resolution of a GNSS receiver improves, it can know the vehicle location with a resolution of less than one meter. If the highway road surface is extremely well mapped with similar precision, the GNSS could guide the vehicle on the highway, probably with some visual sensors for lane markings.
In the past most of the automated highway concepts tended to employ some sort of guidance buried in the highway pavement, but with GNSS position finding becoming more precise, vehicles might become self guided by GNSS.
posted 01-09-2015 03:07 AM ET (US)
Once I thought it strange that the military needed the GPS accuracy down to less than 1/2-meter for the deployment of nuclear items point of impact when 1/2-mile one side or another would produce the same results. And UPS still has a problem finding my street.
posted 01-11-2015 08:07 AM ET (US)
Regarding the accuracy of the U.S. Air Force's NAVSTAR GPS, the civilian accuracy has always been lower than the military accuracy. Civilian GPS receivers use the L1 Coarse Acquisition signal. Military GPS receivers use a different signal that provides higher accuracy.
The accuracy of the position solution of a GNSS receiver does not really affect the issue of whether or not use of an automatically generated navigation route for a recreational marine chart plotter can be permitted in North America by certain manufacturers. Because these GNSS position finding systems are global in nature, there should not be any difference in the accuracy of their position solution in North America compared to elsewhere. If anything, the accuracy is likely to be better in North America because there are more augmentation systems available in North America than elsewhere. I don't think a good basis can be made that auto-routing is not permitted in North American due to some problem with the accuracy of GNSS receivers in that region.
The auto-route is based on the data contained on navigation charts, and really has nothing to do with the position accuracy of the GNSS solution. These newer chart plotters have software algorithms that can create a route from one place to another with enough intelligence to avoid routing across shoals and other hazards. These routes are based on static information in the digital charts, not on the accuracy of the GNSS position solution.
A possible argument might be that the electronic chart data in North American might not be sufficiently accurate, while in other regions the charts are better. I don't think that argument will hold up well. Charts for North America are generally quite accurate, and especially better than charts for other regions where charts are not very reliable, but in those regions of the world auto-routing is available to users.
posted 01-11-2015 08:17 AM ET (US)
The concept of auto-routing technology may be new in recreational grade marine chart plotters, but it has been around for a long time in other applications. In the 1970's I worked for a machine tool software company. The company wrote software that guided the operation of numerically controlled machines (NC machines). A fundamental problem in generating routes for the path of the tool was to always move the tool along a route that did not intersect with the workpiece except during the intended machining operations. The software had auto-routing features for the NC machine that would keep the tool point and tool holder away from the workpiece when moving the tool from one area to another between machining operations. This software was in use 40-years ago. The concept of plotting paths of motion while avoiding certain regions in the path in software was employed in these NC machine applications. They were solving the same problem as a modern recreational chart plotter does when planning an auto-route.
posted 01-13-2015 02:13 PM ET (US)
posted 01-13-2015 03:15 PM ET (US)
Manufacturing Data Systems, Inc., in Ann Arbor. It was a very long time ago. The software ran on a central server, and customers connected to it via Tele-typewriter terminals, like an ASR-33 using a telephone line and a 300-baud modem. They were billed by the minute of connection time. It was long, long ago, in a computing galaxy far, far away. MDSI was founded in 1969. I worked there in 1976.
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