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PC radar overlay depends on chartplotter?!

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As I consider which cockpit chartplotter (hence radar) to use with either Coastal Explorer or MaxSea TZ (at chart table) going forward, I worry about megalomaniacal manufacturers thwarting customers attempts to maintain robust, redundant systems. Please note my post "Surviving failures in a small NavNet" on under NavNet 3D, wherein I bemoan the fact that radar overlay to MaxSea TZ can't survive a chartplotter failure.

I'd appreciate help in causing Furuno to appreciate that this is critically important since denial of such functionality genuinely jeopardizes their customers safety. Choosing to render the radar useless if no MFD is functionally present is consistent with the industries long standing fear of fear of losing chartplotter revenues once open standards define radar interfaces. It's hard to understand why Furuno would impose such a penalty on PCs running their own MaxSea TZ software, however. This is not technically difficult nor expensive but it may be indicative of whether Furuno is so intent on maximizing ROI that they are willing to undermine the philosophical purpose of NavNet i.e. safe/effective navigation. Could it be?

4 Replies

  • If your understanding is correct, it's surprising that Furuno chooses to make their TZ software less capable than Coastal Explorer, whose radar operates without need of a Multi-Function Display. I agree that it's a shameful decision by Furuno, which further confirms my belief that using the iPad as the helm display from Coastal Explorer (incl it's radar) is by far the best approach. Waterproof cases are now available, sunlight readability will improve successively and Apples collection of APPS vendors will certainly outperform any single company's software development efforts. IMO the Maxsea people would be better off seeing themselves as an expensive APP vendor rather than being entangled in Furuno's focus on how to continually sell limited function PCs (chartplotters) at absurdly high prices.

  • This dilemma won't persist much longer although relief isn't likely to come from Furuno, Garmin, Navico or Raymarine. They're too invested in the dated business model that depends on high dollar chartplotter sales. Just as the smartphone and tablet Apps marketplace has spawned new navigation software competitors and marketing strategies for chart suppliers, this cauldron of creativity and mushrooming sales will certainly entice someone to destroy that business model. Navico's Broadband radar is just one early example of how superior radar technology can be refined and deployed by quite a few companies including Honeywell, Sperry Marine and Kelvin Hughes, for example.

    Indeed, Kelvin Hughes is now selling a low power 24" radome version of their SharpEye radar:

    Pentagon water cooler rumors say that Maretron is in discussion with them to create the general purpose solid state radar sensor we civilian boaters want to use with any PC based nav software that chooses to support it. An arms length OEM makes sense because Kelvin Hughes doesn't want to rapidly erode prices of their SharpEye technology in commercial maritime or Government markets. However, their technology is so superior to any recreational boat radar currently available that an affordable Maretron radar could be sucked into the market like iPhones and iPads. The purveyors of iSailor, Mac ENC, iNavx, Navionics, Coastal Explorer, etc., etc., should be more than delighted to help them sell thousands of units that won't be purchased from Kelvin Hughes salesmen.

    As Defense contracting revenues wind down, commercial opportunities always become critically important. If not Maretron + Kelvin Hughes, then others among the many DOD contractors who are fluent with FMCW, coherent filtering, phased arrays and the other technological roots will trigger the 'creative destruction' of the chartplotter manufacturer's business model. Just like Ma Bell, DEC, IBM and other dinosaurs in the past (perhaps Nokia & Research in Motion are current examples), the chartplotter gang is too afraid to do what they realize others will do. Another BizSchool case study; amazing.

  • Thanks for pointing out that Keven Hughes has a SharpEye radome now, and that's a very interesting rumor regarding Maretron!

  • Chessyduck,
    I am very interested in a PC compatible radar, as I need to replace a non-functioning Raymarine system. I have checked with the Rosepoint folks often, but each time they have not had a compatible system. I would like to see Maretron bring a system to market but based on their other hardware pricing, I am pretty sure I would not be able to afford a Maretron radar.