Head-up displays (HUDs) have long been the near-exclusive province of high-performance aircraft, military jets in particular. HUDs allow fighter pilots to maneuver, acquire targets and fire weapons at high rates of speed without losing track of what’s going on outside the cockpit. They’ve been employed in other environments—most notably in automobiles—but rarely on yachts.
Recently, electronics innovator Team Italia introduced what may well be the first HUD commercially produced for large yachts. According to Team Italia’s co-founder and CEO, Massimo Minnella, the Team Italia HUD is being offered as an integral component of the company’s I-Bridge electronic navigation system. The first unit is scheduled to deliver during the second quarter of this year for a new build expected to launch in early 2018.
This HUD employs a 55-inch display that is 90 percent transparent, Minnella says. The programming offers three optional views for the helmsman. One is a conning mode that is best for close-quarters handling or for maneuvering in shallow water where the greatest need is technical information, such as wind and current. The second is the conning information merged with a video source, such as radar or a chart plotter. The third presentation is a 3-D mode: The vessel’s projected course and other pertinent information are displayed in real time and in direct relation to the vessel’s heading.
Although the default viewing angle for the HUD is 170 degrees, the view is constrained in 3-D mode to prevent the possibility of parallax error being introduced into the helmsman’s rudder commands. Standard monitor controls for brightness, contrast and color should help with sun and glare, and settings can be chosen for night operations. During daylight, polarized sunglasses will not affect the presentation of information.
Team Italia’s HUD should help yachtsmen improve situational awareness, allowing them to receive information from a host of electronic inputs without the need for their eyes to leave the windscreen. A yacht may not be traveling at the speed of sound, but this HUD might well keep her safer than she would be with several sets of aging Mark I eyeballs.
For more information: team-italia.it