What are the different types of Boat Autopilot?

19 July 2022

What are the different types of Boat Autopilot?

Different autopilot systems work best on different boats. The type of autopilot needed for a sailboat will be different than one needed for a fishing boat. Raymarine offers several varieties of autopilots, ensuring that you have the best system for your boat.  

What Makes-up an Autopilot System?

Typical Autopilot systems consist of four main components: a heading sensor, an actuator control unit (ACU), a drive unit, and a control head. These components can be customized to work with different types of vessels. 

For a heading sensor, every Raymarine Evolution autopilot system uses an EV-1 or EV-2 heading sensor. The brains of the Evolution autopilot systems, EV sensors employ advanced AHRS (Attitude Heading Reference Sensor) technology to monitor the boat’s position in all three dimensions. Using an array of sensors, the EV heading sensor perceives its environment and instantly calculates and evolves steering commands to maximize performance. The result is precise and confident course keeping, regardless of vessel speed or sea conditions. Evolution autopilots steer so accurately they can save fuel and get you to your destination faster. 

If the EV sensor is the brains of the autopilot system, then think of the ACU as the brawn of the system.  Evolution ACUs provide steering commands to the drive unit and provides power to the EV sensor and autopilot control heads. Evolution ACUs are matched to an appropriately sized drive unit.    

The drive unit is the part that interfaces with your vessel's steering system to keep you on the right course. Raymarine has a broad range of drive units to match almost any type of steering system. Our Evolution Autopilots accommodate hydraulic, mechanical, and power assisted stern drive systems. 

To complete your autopilot system, you’ll need an autopilot control head. The p70s and p70Rs Evolution autopilot control heads feature vibrant color displays and sculpted rubber keypads, and access to all Evolution autopilot functions. The control heads are easy to use and with a simple 3-step setup process you will be up and running in minutes.

Learn More 

For more information on autopilots, check out this Raymarine Live episode on “Autopilot Basics for Every Boat.”