The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) introduced a robot boat that can carry up to two passengers. The devices have already begun to be tested in the Amsterdam canals.
Over the past five years, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Senseable City Lab have been building dozens of autonomous boats for the Amsterdam citizens to use. Now they represent autonomous boats that can be assembled into a floating structure. Scientists note that they can now move on to the testing stage of devices with passengers.
This boat is only two meters long and can carry up to two passengers through the canals of Amsterdam. Roboat II is equipped with four propellers, which allows it to move in any direction. The device uses LiDAR, GPS, and inertial sensors to help it navigate the terrain. While the individual boat looks tiny, it is modular, meaning that individual units can be assembled into larger boats.
MIT viewed the original Roboat as a quarter device, with the Roboat II being semi-scale; they are slowly moving towards a full-scale version of the device that can carry four to six passengers. MIT notes that the current version of the boat travels autonomously through city canals for three hours, collecting data, and returning to where it sailed from.
Going forward, the MIT team plans to tweak Roboat’s algorithms to make it more efficient for swimming in sharper currents and waves. They are also working to make the device identify objects faster and blend in with their surroundings. When the full version of Roboat will be released is still unknown.