How self-driving boats could swarm to simplify city life | NBC News MACH

Boats are going robotic. Using the same technologies seen in self-driving cars and aerial drones, researchers are developing driverless vessels to be used as water taxis and to ferry cargo and garbage within cities — while easing traffic congestion on nearby roadways.

The robotic boats, or “roboats,” would be programmed to ply rivers and canals in urban areas, finding their way amid conventional boat traffic. Swarms of roboats could even be programmed to self-assemble into bridges, floating markets and concert venues and the like — and then to quickly separate when the need has passed.

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