HomeNewsCheck Out These Self-Driving ‘Roboats’ They’re Testing in Amsterdam Canals

Check Out These Self-Driving ‘Roboats’ They’re Testing in Amsterdam Canals

(Photo by Oscar Gonzalez/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

We’re getting closer to what we thought the future would be every day. In recent years, companies have tested both self-driving and flying cars. They’re both still a little dicey, but it seems like they get better all the time. Now, Amersterdam is rolling our self-driving Roboats. These boats use an array of high-tech guidance to travel the city’s ancient canal system. In the future, they’ll carry people, construction materials, and garbage.

Self-driving Roboats sound like something developed to bring curious tourists to the city. However, their main purpose is to help reduce the congestion in Amsterdam’s narrow streets. At the same time, they’ll make traveling the city’s canal systems much easier for everyone.

Amsterdam’s Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions is engineering and designing the Roboats in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Stephen van Dijk, the Dutch institute’s Innovation Director spoke about how the self-driving boats will help the city. “We have a lot of road traffic and congestion,” he said. He went on to say that the city’s narrow streets weren’t designed to see the kind of traffic they do today. In short, there’s not enough road to go around, according to New York Post.

However, Amsterdam has miles of canals that aren’t being used as much as they could be. That’s what brought them around to creating the Roboats. “…to help with logistics in the city and also bringing people around.”

This project has been in development for four years. During that time they tested smaller versions and refined their overall design and engineering. That hard work paid off yesterday when the team was able to introduce the city to a pair of fully-functional and full-sized Roboats. Check out the video below to see them in action.

More About the Self-Driving Roboat

The Roboats are about the size of a car and weigh in at just over a ton. In the video, you can see that they have plenty of seating. However, the craft’s first true test won’t involve passengers. Instead, they’ll use them to collect and move trash. Garbage trucks regularly cause traffic jams in Amsterdam and are generally too big for the streets. So, transporting the trash via canal will be a huge help in de-cluttering the roads.

They will connect the Roboats to the city’s water traffic management system to minimize collision danger. Additionally, the crafts follow GPS and laser imaging to navigate. So, they’ll be able to silently slip through the canals any time of the night or day. As a result, they won’t clutter the canal with garbage-laden boats during the day. They’ll move waste at night and leave the canal to regular water traffic during the day when it is most active.

If you want to get more details, and technical information about the Roboats, head over to the project’s official website.