I'm On A Boat - In The Middle Of The Desert

Photo: Gizmodo

I don’t have my swim trunks or my flippy-floppies, and there aren’t any dolphins anywhere, but you can’t stop me ‘cause I’m on a boat.

Normally during CES, North Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center is filled with concept vehicles, off-roaders, and mock dashboards with fancy displays. You know, car shit. But this year, the tech overlords decided to mix things up a bit by letting in what I’ve been told is the first boat to be shown off on the floor. I mean yacht because, at 23.77m long, and an estimated value of around $US4.5 ($6) million, the Adonis ain’t your average dingy.

Photo: Sam Rutherford, Gizmodo

Now just to be clear, the company behind Adonis—Furrion—didn’t actually make the boat, which is fine, because a fancy boat on its own isn’t all that interesting. Instead, Furrion bought one from performance yacht maker Numarine before turning it into a smart yacht. So what the hell is a smart boat you ask?

Essentially, a smart boat is the smart home concept applied to a floating fibreglass shell with all the creature comforts of terrestrial dwelling like smart lights, touchscreens everywhere, and even its own voice assistant. Except unlike a house, you can take all of this with you while travelling the high seas.

At this point, everyone knows Alexa, Siri, and the Google Assistant. But only the truly privileged will ever have a relationship with Angel, the heart and mind of the Adonis. Like other digital assistants, you can say “Hi, Angel...” to turn on the music or lower the blinds, but the real magic about Furrion’s AI helper is that she works both on and offline.

This is critical because when you’re out on the water, you might not always have access to the internet. But even when you’re disconnected, Furrion says Angel can queue up requests like orders for extra water or groceries or a bathing suit, and then process them the next time you have access to the net. And as a cherry on top, Furrion claims Angel can even look at your itinerary and schedule deliveries, so everything is ready and waiting for you the next time you pull into port.

Photo: Sam Rutherford, Gizmodo

As for more traditional tech, when I inquired as to how many screens were on the Adonis, a Furrion spokesman said about 12, though I don’t think he truly understood what I was getting at. In the master bedroom alone, I saw at least six different screens: a tablet on either side of the bed, a 76cm or so touchscreen behind a mirror plus another two more in a second mirror on the other side of the room, and screen in the shower, almost all of which could be used to play pretty much anything you want including a loop of a fireplace to make you feel extra cosy. And that was just one of the Adonis’ four bedrooms (plus additional quarters for the captain and crew which I didn’t have time to see).

Furrion says the Adonis also runs its screens run a custom OS that looked like Android, but since the UI was so heavily customised, it was hard to tell. Not that it matters, because anyone that can afford this thing isn’t going to waste time managing their own IT. Instead, those screens are used more to ask Angel things like “What’s on the menu today, so you can choose select from a sample of available meals.”

And in case anyone was wondering, Furrion says there’s a fair bit of AI helping Angle out in the background. Not only is Angle able to do things like remind you when supplies are getting low, but Angel also uses the many facial recognition cameras scattered throughout the ship to learn about your habits, and then adjust every room and setting, so that’s is exactly how you like it.

In the main lounge, there were even more tablets, a big-screen TV, and a ridiculously comfortable captain’s chair with embedded lights and a hidden cubbyhole for storing champagne glasses. After all, nothing ruins a luxurious boat ride faster than needing running out of clean crystal for your Cristal. And just outside the indoor lounge was another padded deck situated above a built-in hot tub, because you know, you can’t have too much water, even on a boat.

Photo: Sam Rutherford, Gizmodo

Up top in the crow’s nest (that’s a boat term, right?), alongside all the sensors, horns, and navigational instruments, there was a table with built-in solar panels that also function as a landing pad for a drone. (Don’t lie, you already knew that was coming.) This was the biggest hint at Furrion’s traditional expertise, which lies in creating custom electrics for RVs and other transportation. Though on the Adonis, it gets lost among all that comfort.

But perhaps the funniest thing that happened was when Angel was asked to plot out a simulated course for the day, to which Angle responded by creating a day trip to Catalina, which just sounds rich. At this point, I was reminded that I’ll probably never have enough money to buy a boat this nice, let alone one this smart.

Photo: Sam Rutherford, Gizmodo

But that’s a depressing thought for another time when I’m not on a boat at CES.

Follow along with all of our CES 2019 coverage here.

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