Volvo Technology Award for team behind Volvo Penta innovation

A team of five engineers from different Volvo Group companies is to receive the 2010 Volvo Technology Award for its work in developing Volvo Penta’s Dynamic Positioning System – a system that maintains the boat in its current position.

The 2010 Volvo Technology Award recognizes some of the comprehensive further development work carried out by Volvo Penta since the initial introduction of EVC (Electronic Vessel Control), the electronic platform for leisure craft, in 1999, and the introduction of IPS (Inboard Performance System), its unique propulsion system, in 2005.

DPS (Dynamic Positioning System), the innovation which has earned this year’s award, enables the driver to maintain the boat’s current position and compass heading  to within a couple of metres with just fingertip control. This is a very useful function, for example when queuing to refuel, or waiting at locks or opening bridges.

DPS is controlled by a special program integrated in Volvo Penta’s electronic platform, EVC. An antenna with twin GPS receivers provides the system with precise position and course information. The software uses this information to control the engine speed, gear selection and slip functions, as well as the drive units.

“It is five years since i presented the Volvo Technology Award for the development of IPS, and I now have the pleasure of presenting it once again to two of the winners on that occasion,” says Leif Johansson, president and CEO of the Volvo Group.
“Success breeds success when it comes to ongoing and innovative engineering development. The recipients of this year’s award also include a number of young engineers from the Volvo subsidiary, CPAC Systems, in recognition of their contribution to the DPS project.”

The development of DPS included every aspect of the drive system, from engine and transmission to control system and HMI (Human-Machine Interface), in which real-time synchronisation between the different elements is essential. One major challenge for the engineers was the requirement that the system should be equally suitable for boats of all types, since Volvo Penta works exclusively with independent boatbuilders. In addition to being intuitive and offering a high level of safety, the system also had to be error-tolerant and easy to install.

Following the major interest aroused by the IPS drive system and the resultant high demand for it on the world market, Volvo Penta engineers, together with colleagues from other units of the Volvo Group, continued their intensive development work on the drive itself, as well as on various other accessories.

A ‘joystick’ for manoeuvring boats was introduced early in 2006 and has become one of the most appreciated products in the boating world in recent years. Autumn 2006 saw the launch of multiple installations of both three and four IPS units in large yachts. A special sport fishing function appeared in 2007 followed, in 2009, by the introduction of a large IPS drive offering even higher power.

Drawn from different Volvo Group companies, the five engineers that formed the DPS development team were:

Lennart Arvidsson (project manager and transmission specialist, Volvo Penta, winner in 2005)
Oddbjörn Hallenstvedt (transmission specialist, Volvo Powertrain, winner in 2005)
Caroline Henriksson (system development and technical project manager, CPAC Systems)
Anders Gunne (boat control algorithms, CPAC Systems)
Marcus Brorsson (driveline control, CPAC Systems)

Instituted in 1988, the Volvo Technology Award is being presented this year for the 23rd time. Its purpose is to recognise outstanding technological achievements by Volvo Group personnel, which help to raise the Group’s technological image and promote initiatives that will advance its technological expertise in the years ahead.