Every now and again, a boat like the Velodyne Martini comes along and makes you think about what the future of boating will be like. You may have seen the Coolest Boat in Miami already in a previous blog, and a while back we also told you about the 3 Wackiest Boats in the World. The Velodyne could be in the running for either of these categories as well, but what takes it into the future is its potential to change how boats are designed – from the bottom up.
Yeah, it looks odd in this picture. No, it doesn’t look very funtional as a fishing platform. But what you can’t tell from looking at the picture is that those CNC aluminum legs attaching the hulls to the deck actually move. And, they move a lot.
In fact, those legs are controlled by a computer, which is being fed data from an accellerometer on each corner of the boat and a gyroscope in the middle. As it registers the motion of each hull, the computer tells each set of electro-pneumatic legs how to move up or down to absorb that motion. It all happens in a fraction of a second, and before the deck moves one bit, the legs counter the motion. Net result? You sit perfectly still in the pilothouse, and the hulls independently move up, down, and through the waves. That’s where the name “Martini” comes from; no matter how many waves you hit, you won’t spill your drink.
The Velodyne Martini is still in the experimental stage (as you can also tell from the name, this is version 1.5) and you shouldn’t expect to see this technology showing up at a boat dealership near you any time soon. But they’ve already had some interest from movie makers who need stable platforms to film from on the ocean, and there are some interesting military applications also in the works. As is true of most technology like this, it will take a few years to trickle down to common boaters like you and me. But keep your eye on the Velodyne – this may well be what the boat of the future looks like.