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Harnessing autonomous technology to unlock Amsterdam’s waterways

Ynse Deinema, Project Coordinator – Roboat at the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS Institute), sat down with Intelligent Transport’s Editor, Leah Hockley, to discuss how Roboat is claiming back Amsterdam’s waterways for mobility, and how the use of autonomous vessels is key to maximising its potential.

Roboat - Harnessing autonomous technology to unlock Amsterdam’s waterways

Credit: MIT and AMS Institute

Can you give us a brief explanation of what the Roboat project is?

Roboat is all about developing a fully autonomous vessel that can operate in the urban context. We are building a boat that can sail without the need for a skipper on board, which can self-navigate and safely move from point A to B without bumping into anything. 

An active fleet of Roboats in your city unlocks the potential to optimise all of your logistical planning with a shore control centre – a benefit for mobility, and also logistics. 

We need to re-think what we can do with our mobility concept with our existing infrastructure”

Many cities are struggling when it comes to mobility. Our roads are clogged, congestion is increasing and vehicle emissions are harming the environment. Put simply, we need to re-think what we can do with our mobility concept with our existing infrastructure. 

Amsterdam is renowned for its waterways, specifically its canals, which historically have been used for all kinds of logistical and mobility purposes. Nowadays, these are mostly used for tourism and recreation. But, with Roboat, we are providing a new, innovative platform which is fully autonomous and zero-emission.