The Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are partnering on a new project, aptly called Roboat, to develop efficient and reliable electric autonomous boats. Roboats have four thrusters powered by an electric battery that can power the vessel for 24 hours at an average speed of 4mph. An array of sensors detects the surrounding boat traffic, but interestingly enough, the data processing won't happen on the water.
The boats are connected to a server that processes the data and steers them remotely. Thanks to their modular nature, Roboats won't just be limited to people's transportation. They could serve as well as cargo for delivering goods or for automated garbage collection.
First tests have shown the project's feasibility, with Roboats successfully manoeuvring along with the dense water traffic of Amsterdam's waterways.