Generating an optimal route is certainly a good concept
for coastal cruising when you have to negotiate channels, underwater hazards, variable strong currents and so forth. What is the real problem is when someone interfaces their AP with this and lets the electronics
run the boat.
Assuming the captain
is maintaining proper watch... he can deal with BOATS which will not show up on an auto route... AND there is a very strong possibility of encountering them on reciprocal courses and others crossing the route bound for other destinations.
THIS is the issue...prudent and safe operation of a vessel.
For the sailor the auto route is not useful.... he usually can't follow a route because he has to SAIL, tack, gybe etc.
I know from personal experience of how GPS
driven AP can lead to head
on collisions when vessels are on reciprocal courses. A very popular sail is from Watch Hill RI to block Island. A course which can be sailed without tacking or gybing on the typical SW wind
. What you have on the weekend is a stream of vessels heading from Watch Hill to BI and from, BI to watch Hill... From the air it would look like two strings of ants. Skippers really need to be paying attention at all time. There are also vessels crossing between LI and points east. I've seen several very close calls. I've seen boats with no one in the cockpit
... and I assume they were under AP and likely GPS
This Auto Route feature should be disabled when the GPS/software is used to drive the AP.
BTW... boat operators need to think... know how to navigate and these sorts of "short cuts" will lead to the dumbing down of boat operators. Anyone can point and click two points and then the button that says.. go to.