One of America’s leading universities is putting €20m into developing robot boats which will be able to navigate the Amsterdam canals without a captain.
The project, which will start trials next year, is a joint research programme between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, together with teams from Delft and Wageningen universities.
The total budget for the five year Roboat research project, which will be based in Amsterdam, is €25m.
‘Imagine a fleet of autonomous boats for the transportation of goods and people,’ MIT professor Carlo Ratti said in a statement. ‘But also think of dynamic and temporary floating infrastructure like on-demand bridges and stages, that can be assembled or disassembled in a matter of hours.’
Professor Arjan van Timmeren, the AMS Institute’s scientific director said: ‘We’ll also be exploring environmental sensing. We could for instance do further research on underwater robots that can detect diseases at an early stage or use Roboats to rid the canals from floating waste and find a more efficient way to handle the 12,000 bicycles that end up in the city’s canals each year.’
The first prototypes of Roboat will be tested on the Amsterdam canals in 2017.
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