Amsterdam has more boats than cars. The city has more than a hundred kilometers of canals that wind their way throughout the area. So for this reason, they aren’t concerned with self-driving cars but it makes sense to test self-driving boats. That’s just what’s going to happen in Amsterdam.
While the rest of the world is looking at self-driving cars, they want self-driving boats. It is a unique situation.
Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan Solutions has confirmed a new five-year research program that is going to explore the possible functions of self-driving boats and see how they will work. The program is called Roboat and is being handled by researchers from the Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University and Research in The Netherlands as well as researchers from MIT. They have so far received $25 million in funding. The first prototype self-driving boat should be ready by next year. This could be huge for the city.
“Imagine a fleet of autonomous boats for the transportation of goods and people,” says Carlo Ratti of MIT, who is a principal investigator in the program. The program will also allow “dynamic and temporary floating infrastructure like on-demand bridges and stages, that can be assembled or disassembled in a matter of hours.” The possibilities seem endless.