Once new boats hit the water they start to age. Unfortunately for most buyers, gas boats tend to age like a piece of fruit left out for too long rather than a fine wine. It's therefore not surprising that there's a saying in the industry: "The best days of a boat owner's life are the day they buy it, and the day they sell it."
At Arc, our goal is not only to minimize the maintenance burden of boats, but also to actually improve your experience on the water over time. That’s the magic behind Arc’s over-the-air updates, which allow us to roll out new features or even improve the performance of customer boats already on the water. In fact, we have a whole team dedicated to continually enhancing our boats to make them safer, more reliable, and more enjoyable.
What are OTA updates?
We’re used to software updates on our mobile devices. Most modern electric cars can be updated remotely with over-the-air, or OTA updates. Tesla regularly makes new software available to drivers, tweaking everything from autopilot capabilities to audio quality.
However, OTA updates are largely unheard of in the marine industry. The ones that do exist are limited to making superficial changes on screen displays. At Arc, we can not only update our modern touchscreen displays over-the-air, but we can also make automotive-style updates to the functionality of the boat itself.
By leveraging the powerful onboard computer and built-in data plan, we can add entirely new capabilities to the boat’s controls — and deliver those updates wirelessly to customers around the country.
That’s something that no other recreational boat can do!
Updates that make a difference
There are a couple reasons why over-the-air updates are rare in the boating industry. First, gas vehicles rely less on computers, meaning their performance isn’t controlled by software and firmware to the extent that we see in electric vehicles. Second, even with electric boats, most manufacturers buy their software systems off the shelf, and those systems don’t support OTA updates.
Because we have an in-house software team and we build our own touchscreen and controls technology, we’re able to update features across the board and create a more unified experience.
For example, our first OTA update to Arc One customers gave the boat smarter charging logic, allowed it to sustain higher speeds for longer, and improved its ability to protect against overheating. Future Arc One OTA releases include adding DC fast charging, cruise control, and more detailed navigation charts. We’re listening to our customers to understand what features they’d like to enhance and using that feedback to prioritize our updates.
The old joke about the two best days of a boat owner’s life will soon become obsolete. With the ability to wirelessly improve performance, safety, and reliability long after purchasing a boat, the Arc experience only gets better with time.
If you’re interested in leading the marine industry into an electric future, starting with electric wakeboard and waterski boats, we have a job for you.