The Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions has teamed up with researchers from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Senseable City Lab and two Dutch universities to develop a fleet of Roboats.
The autonomous boats will be used to transport people around the city by using an Uber-style app and deliver packages and other goods. They will also be used to assemble floating bridges, construct floating stages, test water quality, pick up floating waste and possibly retrieve the 12,000 bicycles that annually make their way into Amsterdam’s canals, according to Trade Only sister publication, Soundings.
Miniature prototypes were tested on the city's canals in 2016.
Check out a video on the Roboats here.
Quarter-scale Roboats were built with 3D printing technology and will be tested in October.
The city hopes to have full-scale operational Roboats roaming its canals in three to four years.
The city of Amsterdam, the city of Boston and a Dutch water utility company have already provided 25 million euros in funding and the goal is to bring the technology to other urban areas.
With 850,000 residents living in its city center, and 2.5 million people in the metropolitan area, Amsterdam is heavily congested.
The Netherland’s largest city also receives 3.5 million visitors per year.
Amsterdam’s canal system was designed in the 15th century and consists of 90 islands that are connected with 1,500 bridges. Water makes up almost 25 percent of its surface area and the city has more than 60 miles of canals.