The end of the road for wheel steering?

Two 300 hp Volvo Penta D4 engines and DPH drives are controlled with the fly-by-wire Ullman Steering bar Control System
Two 300 hp Volvo Penta D4 engines and DPH drives are controlled with the fly-by-wire Ullman Steering bar Control System
Two 300 hp Volvo Penta D4 engines and DPH drives are controlled with the fly-by-wire Ullman Steering bar Control System
Two 300 hp Volvo Penta D4 engines and DPH drives are controlled with the fly-by-wire Ullman Steering bar Control System

This year’s Seawork International will be featuring a demonstrator boat with a steering mechanism unlike anything we’ve seen before. The Ullman Steering Bar System is a new control system for high speed boats which allows the operator simultaneous full control of steering and engine controls all while still being able to hold on in rough seas.

Crucially, the system, according to Ullman also allows the helmsman to maintain the optimal postures, ergonomically speaking, to provide reduced fatigue, impact or potential injury to the arms.

Developed by Ullman and launched in cooperation with Volvo Penta, this fully drive-by-wire control system seamlessly integrates with twin electronically controlled drivelines. The system utilises the same natural human reflexes, both congenital and acquired as are active when riding a bike or a motorcycle.

It has been developed to give optimal tactile feed and create an intuitive feeling in operation and control of the boat. Ullman also claims that this reduces response time, lowers learning threshold, shortens training time, increases precision and skills and reduces risk of mistakes.

Harald Bluetooth, the demonstrator brought to Southampton by Volvo Penta and Norsafe is a Norsafe 850 Magnum capable of speeds close to 50kt. Two 300 hp Volvo Penta D4 engines and DPH drives are controlled with the fly-by-wire Ullman Steering bar Control System. The system allows both separate control of one driveline with each hand and single hand operation of both drivelines syncronised for going at high speed. Even the Humphree trim interceptor ride control system is electronically controlled from the steering bar.

Ullman Steering System is patented by Ullman Dynamics. See the demonstrator at Seawork International 2015 on berth V55.

By Jake Frith

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