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Azimut Partners with Google to Test AI for Captains

"Hey Google, turn up the music on the stern deck."

Azimut Yachts is running a trial with Google AI to allow boat owners to experiment with voice commands during their on-water experience.

The Italian yacht builder has created an app that uses Google Cloud's Vertex AI paired with software from Reply digital services - an Italian company that designs integrated computer systems.

Together, the app allows users to interact with their yacht through voice commands to access and control the boat's onboard systems.

The idea, according to Azimut in a company statement, is to provide boat owners with 'smart home' functionality.

“We are thrilled to support Azimut in its digital transformation path leveraging Google Cloud’s artificial intelligence solutions to help them provide their customers with a better experience onboard and develop new standards of innovation in their industry,” said Fabio Fregi, country manager for Google Cloud Italy.

The system works by giving owners remote access to the yacht’s electronics. The captain can use their voice to do everything from turning on lights, to controlling appliances, to adjusting the stereo, to setting the air conditioning levels.

Google AI recognizes the owner's voice and then processes the command through Reply's onboard system -- effectively making it a 'smart' yacht.

Owners can also use voice commands to check fuel levels, water levels, and electrical data.

The system will be tested on Azimut's all-new model -- the Magellano 60. The 60'7"/18.47 m motoryacht is one of the smallest in Azimut's fleet, making it an ideal candidate for systems testing. It also houses all of Azimut's latest technological upgrades for 2024.

“The beta version – installed on board the Magellano 60 for testing – controls the entertainment, lighting and climate systems, as well as the appliances,” the company said.

If the AI proves effective at controlling basic systems, the logical progression would be to provide voice control to steering and navigational hardware.

Tatiana Rizzante, CEO of Reply, added, “The main challenge was integrating the digital world with physical engineering, which is our forte. From this union, with the support of Google Cloud technology, the app was created with all the functionalities that can be further implemented."

The smart yacht concept has drawn the attention from several boat manufacturers. With the use of 'smart' technology to access onboard data, captains can get faster access to information necessary to run their yacht, making things like reading systems manuals or contacting their dealer less likely. It will also speed up troubleshooting for onboard issues that would otherwise require outside technical support.

Should the testing with the Magellano 60 prove successful, it's likely to see Azimut adding the program across their fleet in the future. The company didn't give a timeline for that potential, however.

You can see the AI on the Magellano 60 being tested in the video below:

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