Nearly a quarter of the Amsterdam city is covered by water, with hundreds of kilometers of canals winding through the municipality. So, when everybody is busy with self-driving cars, Amsterdam is interested in self-driving boats.
Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan Solutions (AMS) has launched a five year research programme on self-driving boats. The program is named as Roboat. The research is carried out by MIT and two Dutch universities. $27 million has been invested to this project and the first prototype will hit the canals by 2017.
The autonomous boats can also be used as temporary bridges or as public transport. The Roboat will also act as data gathering robots to cope with public health issues. AMS's scientific director Arjan van Timmeren said that this project will also work on commercial application of sewage monitoring technology.
The Roboat program is also collaborating with Boston city, which is vulnerable to high tides. In 2014, a team of Boston city planners and architects suggested a plan to convert some of the streets into canals in order to cope with high tides.