Floating Bridges of Autonomous Boats

MIT's Roboats
Source:  MIT Roboat Test

World's First Bridge Composed of Autonomous Boats
This is the world's first bridge composed of autonomous boats that disconnect and reassemble into various configurations.  It's the invention of engineers and other scientists at MIT and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions.  The city of Amsterdam has big plans for them in their canals to reduce busy traffic on congested city streets.

Amsterdam Deployment
Amsterdam wants the roboats to cruise its 165 canals to transport people and goods, collect trash and self-assemble into popup platforms like bridges and stages as needed. The roboats are equipped with sensors, thrusters, GPS modules, cameras, microcontrollers and other hardware.  They are far less expensive and far more versatile than traditional bridges.

New Algorithm Upgrade
The roboats have just been upgraded with a new control algorithm that enables them to be "shapeshifting", autonomously changing into floating platforms, floating stages, floating crossways and bridges.  They can also adapt from transporting people to opening up to allow boats to pass through.  The roboats autonomously travel in the water and dock and lock with each other, depending on what operational mode is needed.

New Form of Transportation
MIT Professor Carlo Ratti, who is the lead developer, says the system can connect two sides of a canal by using autonomous boats "that become dynamic, responsive architecture that float on water."  I blogged on this invention about a year ago but wanted to provide you with an update on this highly advanced technology with the new control algorithm.


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