REVIEW RAYMARINE MAVIC DRONE

By: KEVIN GREEN , Photography by: KEVIN GREEN, SUPPLIED

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  • Trade-A-Boat

Drones are cool but not great over water when moving so Raymarine came up with a solution using its latest Axiom and Lighthouse software

 

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REVIEWED RAYMARINE MAVIC DRONE

Why bother, some may say, especially given the challenging weather at sea? Here are a few reasons: real-time video streaming for cruising sailors exploring coral-strewn archipelagoes, or perhaps the charter skipper who wants his clients to relive the fight with that big fish. Or how about the team monitoring crew work on racing boats? Yet another use is as an elevated aerial to vastly increase your VHF or other radio coverage.

The smarts involved are a standard Mavic drone (about $1700) and its handset which has a USB connection to the Raymarine Axiom MFD, which runs the new version of the company's proprietary operating system: Lighthouse v3.5. This uses the Mavic handset's long-range wireless for communicating with the drone. The popular Mavic is the only approved one so far but others will follow.

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The Axiom's sunlit-viewable screen shows the output from the drone's high-resolution video camera, and uses Axiom's inbuilt GPS to track the drone – denoted by a white cross hair on the screen. Drones can mostly fly themselves and are surprisingly powerful – our sea trial Mavic flew against a 25kt wind – but their biggest limitation is battery life, which may only be 10 minutes flying time between lithium battery changeovers. The Lighthouse v3.5 software also has several modes of drone control that includes Fish On mode and Active Track. Active Track mode is able to follow a moving object, allowing it to automatically fly alongside the boat, while the Fish On mode flies the drone around the boat during the catching process.

For more information head to Raymarine.com.au

 


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