New uncrewed water taxis begin trials in Amsterdam’s canals

Photo: Roboat

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS) have begun conducting trials of full-scale, uncrewed water taxis in some of Amsterdam’s many canals.

As part of the five-year Roboat project, the joint MIT-AMS team will carry out operational testing of the prototype vessels, which all run on battery power. The trials seek to determine the boats’ ability to transport passengers as well as cargo in the waterways that course through the Dutch capital city.

The project team’s long-term goal is to help ease congestion in the city’s streets while ensuring significantly reduced emissions.

Each water taxi can sail at a speed of 3.4 knots. There are also cameras and sensors fitted on each boat to provide situational awareness to an operator at a shore control station.

The Roboat team said the technology will still need to be further developed before fully autonomous sailings can be conducted.

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