Driving innovation

Volvo Penta Joystick Driving wins the 2023 IBEX Innovation Award in the Propulsion Parts, Propellers category.

05 October 2023


The prestigious program recognises manufacturers and suppliers that deliver genuine innovation to the marine market.

Volvo Penta’s Joystick Driving technology integrates shift, steering and throttle into a single joystick control, delivering a premium experience to boat drivers, centred on ease of use and precision.

A game-changing innovation for the marine industry, the new Volvo Penta Joystick Driving was awarded a prestigious IBEX Innovation Award this year, in the Propulsion Parts, Propellers category, winning against a further 94 submissions.

Launched in May, Volvo Penta’s groundbreaking technology integrates shift, steering and throttle into a single joystick control, allowing smoother manoeuvres with the use of just one hand, for easier operations, more precise control, and a premium experience.

The award winners were announced 3 October 2023 in Tampa, Florida, on the opening day of the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference (IBEX) – North America’s largest trade show event for marine industry professionals.


Volvo Penta Joystick Driving won its award for showing clear leadership in its category, including an ability to advance the marine industry through better user experience, and enabling boaters to build a stronger connection with the environment around them.

“Joystick control has been around, but primarily used for docking, and Volvo Penta has taken to new heights with the innovative ability to drive the boat without touching the steering wheel.

“The system integrates shifting, steering and throttle, and easily installs into the driver’s armrest for ergonomic driving and comfort,” noted IBEX award judge, Steve Davis, from Boating Writers International.

“Since its launch earlier in the year, Joystick Driving has received universally positive feedback and we are extremely honoured to win an IBEX award for one of our hero innovations,” said Anders Thorin, marine electronics product planner at Volvo Penta. “This recognition symbolises the market’s appreciation for our continuous focus on ease.”

Volvo Penta Joystick Driving can be used in all sizes and kinds of vessels, including commercial ships. The solution can be conveniently installed on the armrest of the driver’s seat, ensuring an ergonomic driving posture.

The joystick is simply pushed forward to engage a gear, speed up or slow down, and released to remain at a certain speed. The acceleration is proportional to the angle of the joystick.  When the joystick is pulled back, the throttle reduces, and the boat stops. To further enhance the driving experience, electronic gear shifting enables smooth acceleration and deceleration.

The IBEX Innovation Awards Program, now in its 20th year, is managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and judged by Boating Writers International (BWI). The awards program recognizes manufacturers and suppliers who bring new, innovative products to market in 15 different categories.



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