The future is here with Volvo Penta’s new Glass Cockpit navigation system. In collaboration with Garmin, Volvo Penta has created a user-friendly control platform at the helm that makes boating more simple and fun. If you’ve used a smartphone or tablet computer, you’ll be at home swiping, pinching and zooming your way around the display screens.
Now, for the most part you can still actually drive boats with the Glass Cockpit system—all the fun doesn’t have to be automated. But it can be. Garmin’s auto-guidance feature suggests the best way to avoid obstacles and shallow water, and if you pair it with autopilot, you’ve created a self-driving boat.
We took a long ride at the 2014 Miami International Boat Show on the new Cobalt A40 cruiser equipped with the Glass Cockpit system. Powered by a pair of Volvo Penta D6 diesel 400-horsepower engines mated to stern drives with joystick control, the A40 has twin 12-inch Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit 8212 multi-function displays mounted side by side on the dash. With the power off, the blank screens looked sad and uninteresting. But when you fire up the engines, the world of boating in the electronic age springs brilliantly to life.