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Newsletter : Bringing a New Kind of Value to the Water -- A quiet, easy-to-use, and eco-friendly next-generation boat control system from Yamaha Motor --

October 25, 2022

HARMO is a next-generation boat steering and control platform that focuses on low-speed cruises in shallow waters, such as along lake shores and down canals. Featuring an electric propulsion unit for a small environmental footprint, a remote control box for thrust control, and a joystick for intuitive steering inputs, HARMO brings a new kind of value to sightseeing vessels and the like: slow-paced quality time on the water. With its low environmental impact, silent operation, little vibration, ease of use, and other standout qualities, HARMO is currently being introduced to the Japanese and European marine markets.* 
*Real-world cruise trials are underway at popular tourism spots in Japan, while HARMO was officially released in Europe in Spring 2022.           

■A More Comfortable Smart Boat Package

HARMO is specialized for more relaxed, low-speed cruises on lakes, canals, and the like.

As per the revised Yamaha Motor Group Environmental Plan 2050, Yamaha Motor is aiming for carbon neutrality throughout all of its business activities, including across the life cycles of its products, by 2050. At the core of our strategy for achieving this goal is further reducing the amount of CO2 emissions per person during movement, and Yamaha is looking to transition its current small-scale mobility offerings over to powertrains that leave even smaller environmental footprints. For our outboard motors, most still rely on internal combustion engines today, but we are seeking to increase the ratio of battery electric models and fuel cell models to 21% by 2030.
 HARMO is a next-generation boat control platform that integrates an electric propulsion unit and an electronic steering system. It was developed to be a smart boat package that allows passengers to enjoy cruises on canals and other waterways in greater comfort thanks to the silent operation unique to electric motors. By bundling eco-friendliness, low noise and vibration, and intuitive controls together, the HARMO platform not only enhances the time passengers spend on the water but also helps operators of sightseeing boats and other craft lower the burdens of boat operation while its excellent serviceability alleviates other maintenance duties.
HARMO's rim-drive unit produces particularly strong low-down thrust while being environmentally friendly and generating low noise and vibration.

■Wonderful Cruises that Contribute to Energizing Local Communities

In the real-world trials being conducted in Japan, some 150,000 tourists each year are enjoying a quiet and comfortable experience on canal cruises powered by HARMO.

Since 2020, a 32-foot boat used for cruises along the Otaru Canal in northern Japan has been using twin HARMO units as part of real-world trials of the system. To date, the units have powered more than 1,500 canal cruises with around 150,000 passengers aboard each year, contributing to the city's tourism industry.
 Otaru flourished as a settlement thanks to its canal, which was constructed almost 100 years ago in 1923 by landfilling areas along the coastline. The canal used to bustle with waterborne traffic, and small boats could be seen delivering goods here and there. However, in recent years as the canal was no longer needed for its original purpose, the once-vibrant atmosphere began to fade away.

"I want to breathe new life into this canal," states Toru Kikuchi. He runs Otaru Canal Boat LLC, a business operating a HARMO-powered boat on the Otaru Canal.

 Toru Kikuchi is the representative of Otaru Canal Boat LLC, which operates sightseeing cruises on the canal using HARMO. "The canal is an important resource for Otaru," he says. "It would be such a waste to simply discard it without using it." That conviction is what led him to found the business. With more visitors to Otaru enjoying the cruises along the canal, it has aided in energizing the community. "With more and more tourists coming to the city, we have gained more volunteers for cleaning the area, and the once-filthy canal has become much cleaner," explains Kikuchi. This collaborative project is featured in our Field-Born series of short SDG documentaries that introduce Yamaha Motor's efforts to address societal issues.

Field-Born - Finding Real-World Solutions
Vol. 4 The Soft Ripples of Canal Waters

Message from the Editor
As the engines for conventional outboards sit above the waterline, it has been considered a given that they generate vibration and noise from meshing gears. However, HARMO sits largely underwater and the motor is so quiet that the development team was actually unable to get a good decibel measurement during tests. Further, the non-contact rim-drive design rotates the propeller without any gears, hence it generates almost no noise.

I remember one of the developers likened the experience to floating on the water on a leaf boat, leaving your course entirely up to where the water takes you. Be sure to view the latest entry in our Field-Born series of short documentaries to see the new kind of value made possible by HARMO and the slow and serene experience it creates on the water.

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Corporate Communication Division, PR group: +81-3-5220-7211

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