An autonomous boat taxi called Roboat III started to work in the Netherlands capital of Amsterdam.
Robot III was developed by the engineers of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), the Senseable City Laboratory, and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions.
The boat is able to carry five passengers, up to 1,500 kg cargo and it also can be used for channel garbage cleaning. The Roboat has an open cabin as it can be covered in case of rain.
The developers said that Roboat has an electric engine, capable of wireless charging, and is fitted with a battery that enables it to drive itself down canals for up to 10 hours without a charger. The self-driver taxi can reach the speed of 12 kilometres per hour (7,4 miles per hour).
Roboat works the same way as self-driving cars: it uses a combination of LIDAR scans, digital map analyses, object and obstacle detection, and both sensors and cameras that provides a 360-degree view of its surroundings.
Despite the autonomy, every bout is constantly controlled and monitored by the operator. The new water taxi debuted on October 28 in the Amsterdam channels.
"The historic center of Amsterdam is the perfect place to start, with its capillary network of canals suffering from contemporary challenges, such as mobility and logistics," Stephan van Dijk, Director of Innovation at AMS Institute explained why the Roboat taxi was launched in Amsterdam.