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MIT’s upgraded autonomous boat can now ferry passengers

MIT’s upgraded autonomous boat - Roboat II. | Picture by special arrangement.  

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Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed their second instalment of autonomous boat. The new Roboat II can ferry passengers.

It weighs over 50 kg and is two metres long, a metre longer than its predecessor, and can carry two passengers.

“Roboat II navigates autonomously using algorithms similar to those used by self-driving cars, but now adapted for water,” MIT Professor Daniela Rus said in a release.

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The MIT team worked with Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions to create navigation and control algorithms to update the communication and collaboration among the boats. They are working on building the world's first fleet of autonomous boats for the City of Amsterdam, a MIT noted.

“We’re developing fleets of Roboats that can deliver people and goods, and connect with other Roboats to form a range of autonomous platforms to enable water activities,” Rus added.

After picking up a passenger, Roboat II uses its algorithm and data from sensors including GPS to track its location and speed, and plots a path based on current traffic conditions to the passenger’s destination. The system’s automatic controller also updates the path to avoid obstacles.

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The team is developing more efficient algorithms by including active object detection and identification to improve Roboat’s understanding of its environment. It also intends to assess disturbances such as currents and waves, to further improve the tracking performance in more noisy waters, according to the release.

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2020 4:51:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/mits-upgraded-autonomous-boat-can-now-ferry-passengers/article32961301.ece

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