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MIT and AMS Institute testing autonomous electric “Roboat” in the Amsterdam canals

Written by Kfir Kedem – June 24, 2021

Reviewed by Asaf Kedem

Amsterdam has over 100 km of waterways, which used to be used as means of transport. Nowadays, these waterways are typically seen as canals and people rarely use them for purposes other than city tours. With traffic congestion becoming a greater issue, these waterways may be looked at as a new mobility solution.


MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and AMS Institute (Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions) have partnered up to develop an autonomous electric boat called the Roboat. This boat has already been tested on Amsterdam’s canal and its use cases are great. Replacing cars on the road and delivery trucks, the Roboats would be able to maneuver around the city without the constant pressure of Amsterdam’s foot and bicycle traffic.


It is currently equipped with a 12 kW battery which can power the boat for up to 9 hours. The top speed is 6 km/h and the body is modular for comfort during different weather conditions.


Auto Trendy’s take:

The Roboat will be a great way to lower congestion and decrease transport emissions without interfering with current land traffic infrastructure. It may also be a quicker process to get autonomous boats legislation to a standard that allows them to cruise around with no driver. This is due to the fact that there is already not much going on in the waterways, as opposed to the safety concerns on land of pedestrians, cyclists, and a copious amount of drivers. Will this be the future for traffic within Amsterdam and other Dutch canal cities? Will the Roboat pave the way for international autonomous freight ships? Only time will tell.