RoundAround Dynamic “Bridge” Is Made Of Autonomous Boats


By Rima Sabina Aouf, Dezeen, Aug 14, 2019

Carlo Ratti and his team at MIT’s Senseable City Lab have come up with a “bridge” made of continuously circling autonomous boats for a tricky patch of Amsterdam’s waterway.

The robot boats, appropriately known as Roboats, use cameras, lidar  – a detection system that uses laser –and algorithms to operate without human drivers.

They communicate with each other to calculate the best path around obstacles.

The Roboats are electric, and use their brief sojourns at the platforms on either side of the canal to recharge.

Each boat has room for up to six people and will also contain a larger touch-screen so the passengers can monitor the status of their journey or call for assistance if required.

The Senseable City Lab and AMS Institute say the roundAround will transport hundreds of people per hour. They see it as a form of temporary “dynamic infrastructure” to suit a developing city.

“The Roboat units of roundAround will autonomously respond to and learn from the dynamics of this Amsterdam waterway,” said Ratti. “As they operate, the system will become increasingly more intelligent and well-equipped to be implemented in other parts of the city and other cities worldwide.”