This self-driving boat taxi is now available in Amsterdam

Roboat was developed by scientists from MIT and the Netherlands.


Roboat is an autonomous water-taxi that initially began development in 2015 by scientists from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Senseable City Laboratory, together with the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute) in the Netherlands.


What started out as a series of prototypes in an MIT pool, has now turned into a full-scale autonomous boat that was unveiled in Amsterdam by MIT and AMS Institute.


Roboat can transport up to six people, shepherding them around the canals in Amsterdam.

Other functions include garbage collection, goods delivery, and makeshift infrastructure.

“We now have higher precision and robustness in the perception, navigation, and control systems, including new functions, such as close-proximity approach mode for latching capabilities, and improved dynamic positioning, so the boat can navigate real-world waters ... Roboat’s control system is adaptive to the number of people in the boat.”

Daniela Rus — MIT professor of electrical engineering and computer science and director of CSAIL


10 hours

Length of Roboat's battery life.

Roboat is able to avoid obstacles using its computer, which compensates for external factors like wind, current and waves. The water-taxi can also autonomously steer and latch itself to appropriate docking stations, making it an efficient mode of urban transportation.


For anyone that wants to learn more about Roboat, check out this official blog post from MIT that goes into more detail about the vessel’s history and functionality.


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