Added 25 August, 2017
As self-driving cars begin to appear on public highways, the first autonomous boats are heading for the waterways of Amsterdam. The "Roboat" is expected to make its maiden voyage in 2017, the product of a $27 million collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS). The cutting-edge crafts will offer a range of urban solutions from public transport to pollution sensing and water-based venues. If trials are successful, a fleet of Roboats will soon be operating in the Dutch capital, and around the world. The autonomous boats will provide an alternative, eco-friendly transport option. "In Amsterdam, the existing infrastructure of roads and bridges is extremely busy," says Dr. Stephan van Dijk, research program manager at AMS. "We will try to shift the transport of goods and people to the waterways to get people out of their cars and reduce traffic in the city." The boats are designed to be light and easy to maneuver, says van Dijk, so that they can quickly and easily reach all points of Amsterdam's extensive canal network, which made the city the obvious location for the project. The design also allows boats to be connected together to form floating bridges and platforms, that could be used for purposes from disaster relief to open air concerts.