MIT and the city of Amsterdam Team up on Autonomous Boats

Roboat-Sensable-City-3Most of the news on autonomous vehicles centers around the world of vehicles designed for roads.  But what if your city or town is surrounded by water – what if the avenue to your home or business is not a road, but a canal?

With global technological movement flowing towards self driving vehicles, it was only a matter of time before a metropolis such as Amsterdam started thinking about the future of autonomous vehicles in terms of their city landscape.  And that means boats.

Enter the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  They are pairing up with the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute) to begin the world’s first large scale research project on autonomous floating vessels for cities, cleverly called Roboat.  This is a five year initiative including researchers from MIT, Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University and Research.

The budget?  25 million euros.  The first prototypes? AMS says they’ll be in the water in 2017.

I think it’s safe to say we’ll be seeing much more news about this project and any others of its scale focusing on autonomous vehicles.

What’s next?  Autonomous ice cream trucks?  I’ll have mint chocolate chip, please.

Read more on the project at AMS.

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