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Volvo docks a yacht without any help from the captain

Sasha Lekach

Even if parking your yacht is the last thing you're worried abut, it's pretty cool to see the vessel wedge into a tight space on its own.

Volvo Penta's self-docking technology did just that at a demo at the Volvo Ocean Race in Sweden this weekend. The 68-foot yacht did the work itself while the captain kept his hands off the wheel. 

A boatload of sensors (alright, just four), a computer system, and GPS navigation helped calculate and steer the boat into the narrow berth. 

SEE ALSO: These emission-free water taxis want to change how people move around in cities with waterways

While it looks highly autonomous, the self-docking feature — targeted for a 2020 launch on Volvo's personal and commercial marine vessels — still requires a person at the ready. After all, someone needs to be able to intervene if necessary. The system, which is only for deployment of the docking portion of the ride, will alert the captain to impending collisions. The boat is human-controlled for the majority of the time on the water.

Other self-driving boats, or "roboats," are emerging in watery locations where road congestion could ease up with a move to waterways. NBC looked at autonomous, unmanned boats being researched in Amsterdam with MIT. Eventually, other water-heavy cities like Venice and Bangkok could see the vessels moving cargo, supplies, or even garbage — all without clogging up roads back on land. 

Volvo's new tech will be like having a self-parking car, but with a lot more water.