Researchers design 3-D-printed driverless boats that can self-assemble into other floating structures

Researchers design 3-D-printed driverless boats that can self-assemble into other floating structures

The future of transportation in waterway-rich cities such as Amsterdam, Bangkok, and Venice — where canals run alongside and under bustling streets and bridges — may include autonomous boats that ferry goods and people, helping clear up road congestion.

Researchers from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the Senseable City Lab in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP), have taken a step toward that future by designing a fleet of autonomous boats that offer high maneuverability and precise control. The boats can also be rapidly 3-D printed using a low-cost printer, making mass manufacturing more feasible.

The boats could be used to taxi people around and to deliver goods, easing street traffic. In the future, the researchers also envision the driverless boats being adapted to perform city services overnight, instead of during busy daylight hours, further reducing congestion on both roads and canals. Continue reading “Researchers design 3-D-printed driverless boats that can self-assemble into other floating structures”