Vehicle Technology

Brunswick Boating Tech Smooths Rough Waters

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For many, boating is a passion that’s not without costs. There’s maintenance, for starters, plus the unknowns of changing weather, malfunctioning equipment far from shore, submerged obstacles and shifts in current. Fortunately for boaters of every proficiency level, Brunswick knows how to counter maritime risks with sensors, software and more.
The largest recreational marine company in the world, Brunswick has a long history of applying tech to pump up the fun on the water. Find out from CEO David Foulkes how the Brunswick ACES Innovation Strategy elevates and simplifies boating so that everybody can safely experience all that life on the water has to offer. In season 7, episode 10, Brunswick Tech Brings Futuristic Fun on the Water, of the CES Tech Talk podcast series, Foulkes elaborates on tech for optimum boating, the ACES framework and what the company has in store for CES 2024.        

Top Four Takeaways

  • ACES: A for autonomous, C for connected, E for electric and S for shared. The strategy informs Brunswick innovations that resolve pain points for everyone from the boating expert to the beginner.
  • The autonomy aspect of ACES is enabled through sensors, joystick controls and more to assist with often tricky maneuvers like docking. Connectivity for remote operations and monitoring is achieved through advanced wireless and digital systems. Electrification tech underpins Brunswick electric outboard motors. Shared access to boating excursions is possible, minus many maintenance and other expenses, through Brunswick’s Freedom Boat Club.    
  • With the September acquisition of Fliteboard, Brunswick’s portfolio is expanding to include e-foiling surfboards that are equipped with an electric motor underneath. E-foiling users glide above the water once they’ve attained a certain speed. They don’t have to rely on waves for that speed as they would with traditional e-foils.
  • At CES 2024, Brunswick will be exhibiting the future of boating and the marina of the future. The object is to show the world the many entry points to the on-water lifestyle.

They Said It

“We are progressively replacing those onboard combustion-engine generators with high capacity lithium-ion battery systems. We have a system that we call Fathom, which is a combination of lithium-ion batteries that we produce in our brand master vault with a power management system that attaches that battery to all of the electrical systems on the boat. A battery gets recharged by a 48-volt alternator on the engine. So that is something that we can do for larger boats [to] replace propulsion engines.”
David Foulkes (18:53)
“Brunswick is unique in the industry in that we own 18 different boat brands and a variety of marine technology businesses…The marina [of the future] concept really is about showing the diversity of the kind of boats that we make, the technology that we can introduce on those boats, and even the ACES technologies…including electric boats [and] e-foils or e-surfboards.”
David Foulkes (29:22)

David Foulkes, CEO and Director, Brunswick

David Foulkes joined Brunswick in 2007 to head product development at Mercury Marine where he led development of Mercury’s line of outboard engines, including the recently introduced V-6 and V-8 outboard engines. Since 2012, Foulkes also has led Mercury Racing, helping to significantly grow the business. Additionally, he’s overseen the launch of NAUTIC-ON and Brunswick's I-JET Innovation Lab at the University of Illinois. Before joining Brunswick, Foulkes spent 18 years with Ford Motor Company, and earlier worked with Shell Exploration and the Ministry of Defense, both in the United Kingdom. He holds a bachelor's degree in aeronautics and a master’s degree in structural and fluid mechanics from Imperial College in London.

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