An autopilot (often abbreviated to pilot) is a mechanical, electrical or hydraulic system which can maintain a vessel on a predetermined course or bearing without the need for human intervention. Using a direct or indirect connection with a vessel’s steering mechanism, the autopilot relieves the crew from the task of manually steering the ship.
Autopilot have evolved from simple course holding systems to adaptive computer systems that offer reduced fuel costs and increased transit times, also offering many innovative features and on screen information. These new systems learn the characteristics of the vessel’s handling and minimize rudder movement reducing drag on the vessel. Increased speed and lower fuel consumption makes autopilot more user friendly.
Autopilots do not replace a human operator, but assist them in controlling the ship, allowing them to focus on broader aspects of operation, such as monitoring the trajectory, weather and systems. AMI Marine Co., Ltd offer a range of Autopilots, including commercial and leisure models from TMQ Electronics, a member of the AMI Group.