Electric driverless boats trialled on Amsterdam canals

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Amsterdam is set to trial electric autonomous boats on its canal, as a full-scale prototype of Roboat is tested at Marineterrein Amsterdam Living Lab (MALL).

Roboat units have been designed to alleviate pressure from Amsterdam’s inner city in numerous ways, including transporting people or goods, or picking up garbage.

“How to deal with scarce space is an issue for many cities, and this certainly also applies to Amsterdam,” said Victor Everhardt, deputy mayor, City of Amsterdam.

“A big part of the city consists of water surface, so it makes sense to make use of this. It is therefore great that at Marineterrein experiments with innovations such as Roboat take place and that here it is investigated whether autonomous transport is possible on the canals.”

According to the project, the modular design of Roboat units even enable them to be linked together to form a temporary bridge or a stage on the water.

The project is a collaboration between AMS Institute and MIT Senseable City Lab with the trials carried out in the urban innovation test area at MALL.

Stephan van Dijk, director of innovation at AMS Institute, added: “In the Roboat project, we are researching different use cases for the application of autonomous transport over water in the city of Amsterdam.

“We could use Roboat for waste collection in the inner city and e.g. for transport of people. For water-rich cities like Amsterdam, autonomous transport by water offers interesting opportunities to improve urban infrastructure.”

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