In this article we explore how an emerging technology, autonomous vehicles, can foster the re appropriation of an urban infrastructure — in this case, the deployment of a fleet of autonomous boats in the city of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, which is imagined not only to serve multiple purposes, but also to become a novel urban infrastructure. The ideas range from the micro scale (public dashboards for water quality data) to the macro (a network of autonomous platforms that collect fresh produce from farms and combine together to form floating farmer’s markets). These ideas seek to engage the realities of everyday life in the city and propose Roboat as a platform to help citizens negotiate the 21st century urban life.
A Fleet of Autonomous Boats for Amsterdam
Historically, in cities with robust systems of canals and rivers, boats were used for the movement of freight and people. In recent decades, this transport has shifted to trucks, vans, and cars, compromising the environment and livability of these cities.
Icon image: Pixabay - Amsterdam Canal