The Mercury legacy of building reliable, capable marine propulsion systems isn’t limited to engines. It includes sophisticated technologies that extend in front of the transom, too. The latest innovation, the Next Generation Digital Throttle & Shift (DTS) system, is another example of Mercury’s commitment to delivering intuitive prop-to-helm solutions that enhance the boating experience.
Next Gen DTS is a further evolution of the original DTS system, unveiled in 2004. It will replace the former control system for use with all DTS-compatible Mercury sterndrive, inboard, diesel and outboard engines. The Verado® engine family, including the all-new V12 600hp Verado outboard, comes standard with DTS controls.
Like its predecessor, Next Gen DTS provides smooth, ultra-responsive throttle performance with zero hesitation, plus full integration with SmartCraft® digital technologies. Only now, what was already an impressively refined control system has been enhanced with improved ergonomic designs for the electronic remote controls (ERC), additional user-friendly features, and push-button activation and adjustment for Active Trim incorporated directly on the control base, eliminating the need for an additional control panel on the dash. Active Trim automatically and continuously adjusts engine trim based on changes in GPS speed to improve performance, fuel economy and ease of operation.
With more engine controls integrated into the ERC instead of on the dash, the Next Gen DTS system helps to minimize clutter at the helm. It also boasts a robust and reliable operating system that enhances control when driving a boat with Joystick Piloting. For instance, the new system includes Joystick Heading Assist, which automatically counters wind or current to maintain bow direction when docking. And it provides more flexibility to adjust the “digital anchor” position when using Skyhook®. Most benefits of the operating system occur without the driver even noticing, but the results are profound.
“When we were creating the Next Gen Digital Throttle & Shift system, most importantly we wanted to improve the boating experience with an intuitive design and simpler access to the features boaters use most often,” said Tyler Mehrl, category manager for steering and controls at Mercury. “The design team nailed it. This is the most advanced control system Mercury has ever created. With unparalleled control and instant throttle response, driving a boat with Next Gen DTS is really an incredible experience. Plus, the updates to the user interface and operating system really improve the overall ease of use for other integrated SmartCraft technologies such as Active Trim, Joystick Piloting and Skyhook.”
The new ERC lineup offers solutions for boats with single Mercury engines or up to six Mercury engines. For single-engine configurations, there’s a panel- and console-mount ERC. For multi-engine configurations, boaters can choose the standard dual-handle console-mount ERC or the Premier dual-handle model, which includes an innovative digital display integrated into the control base.
The display provides informational pop-ups when using Skyhook, Skyhook Advanced Features, Heading, Route, Active Trim, helm transfer and throttle-only mode. It also displays fault information and history, maintenance reports, gear position, helm configuration, engine hours and more. Having vital information right at hand helps to stay fully connected with the propulsion system.
Each control has the same sleek, chrome-on-black aesthetics and a dynamic styling that’s consistent with the current “Mercury DNA” overseen by Todd Dannenberg, the Mercury director of industrial design.
“The design of the Next Gen DTS controls is highly functional and highly advanced,” Dannenberg said. “When you see it, you want to reach out for it, and once you touch it, your hand slides right into position on the throttle. The ergonomics provide a very natural connection that invites you to push the throttle and feel the engine’s power. That was part of our strategy. Our engines are incredibly refined, with highly sophisticated designs, and the throttle is the primary touchpoint. So we want you to feel a connection to the engine through the new controls. Of course, they also have intuitive features that improve the user experience, which we derived through intensive usability testing.”
In addition to integrated Active Trim, the controls feature a green neutral indicator light on the throttle handle/s that quickly confirms gear position, a convenient throttle-only feature for starting and warming the engine/s, a large start/stop button and an oversized trim switch. Multi-engine controls have a start/stop-all button for all engines and buttons for starting and stopping individual engines, as well as the ability to trim all or individual engines.
Single-engine controls are available with a Quick Steer button for activating the exciting new Mercury Quick Steer feature, which is offered if the Mercury Single Outboard Electric Steering system is installed. Quick Steer – an industry-first technology – enhances steering control by providing full turning capacity for the boat with only a quarter-turn of the steering wheel to the left or right. It provides advanced-level control for low-speed, close-quarters maneuvering, further enhanced by Next Gen DTS.
“We incorporated an incredible range of features designed to improve the boating experience with single- and multi-engine boats,” added Mehrl, “and we were able to do it in a way that boaters can understand how to use those features from day one when they take the helm. That’s key to the DTS experience. The intuitive design means there’s very little learning curve to be able to enjoy a huge performance advantage.”
The intelligent technology incorporated into the Next Gen DTS system helps deliver an enjoyable on-water experience with virtually any style of boat and every on-water activity. With enhanced control and the legendary reliability of a Mercury engine, marine performance has never come easier.
Click here for detailed information about the Next Gen DTS system, or contact your local Mercury authorized dealer to learn more about the benefits that this premium control system could provide to you on the water. You can also explore what’s possible when you boat with Mercury SmartCraft digital technologies delivering the power to do more.