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Next-Level Joystick Driving From Volvo Penta

Maneuverability, course adjustment, throttle, and shift can now be controlled through one joystick — and therefore, a single hand.

Close up of a hand utilizing a joystick to drive a boat

Joystick steering has become more commonplace among larger powerboats, helping many a skipper look good docking in close quarters. Now Volvo Penta, the company that started it all, has taken the joystick from an assisted-docking tool to one that steers at full throttle. “The first time you try our new joystick driving, the function is so seamless and intuitive, you feel like it has been there forever,” says Anders Thorin, marine electronics product planner at Volvo Penta. “Integrated shift, throttle and steering into the same control delivers a completely new driving experience – where the joystick can be used for your complete journey – without needing to touch the steering wheel or control lever.”

Compatible with Volvo Penta IPS, sterndrive, and inboard shaft systems, for either diesel or gasoline engines, the design is intuitive. Push the joystick forward to engage the gear, speed up or slow down, and release it to remain at a certain speed. The acceleration is proportional to the angle of the joystick. When the joystick is pulled back, the throttle reduces speed to zero. Electronic gear shifting enables smooth acceleration and deceleration.

Joystick Driving with Volvo Penta

When you activate the joystick driving function, key driver information – the requested gear, speed, and heading – is automatically displayed in the Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit helm display. You can tailor the joystick driving view to show the information you need – for full control of the situation.

“We envisage a fundamental shift in future helm design,” adds Thorin. “A user-centered approach will take center stage, and we are developing solutions that facilitate the creation of helm stations tailored to individual comfort, efficiency and safety.”

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Rich Armstrong

Senior Editor, BoatUS Magazine

A journalist by training, BoatUS Magazine Senior Editor Rich Armstrong has worked in TV news, and at several newspapers, then spent 18 years as a top editor at other boating publications. He’s built a stellar reputation in the marine industry as one of the most thorough reporters in our business. At BoatUS Magazine, Rich handles everything from boat and product innovation and late-breaking news, to compelling feature stories, boat reviews, and features on people and places. The New Jersey shore and lakes of lower New York defined Rich's childhood. But when he bought a 21-foot Four Winns deck boat and introduced his young family to the Connecticut River, his love for the world of boats flourished from there.