Australian students have built a driverless boat that thinks for itself in an emergency

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A team of students from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia, has built a robotic boat that can think for itself, and will now enter it into an international competition that’s designed to increase innovation and speed up the development of *”driverless”* boats.

These robo-boats will eventually be able to perform real-world tasks that could help save lives and reduce environmental damage in the oceans, such as searching for oil slicks or marine debris, and helping to find people lost at sea.

“This generation of boats will be the first to perform search-and rescue-activities in cyclonic weather, for instance, when it’s too dangerous for emergency services personnel to be on the water,” said Matt Dunbabin, a QUT roboticist and the team advisor, in a press release.

*“The technologies we’re developing for the competition we believe will one day save lives on the water.”*

And as you can see in the picture above, it looks pretty boss, too. The team is now hoping to take their boat over to Singapore for the world’s first international marine robotics competition, named the Maritime RobotX Challenge, but need sponsorship help to get them over there. They’ll be competing against 14 other teams from Singapore, Japan, Korea, the US and Australia.

The frame of the boat was provided to the students by the competition organisers, but they have developed all of the sensors, hardware and software needed to allow the boat to navigate through complex environments, dock itself and detect and avoid collisions autonomously.

*”It’s a really exciting project to be a part of – rarely do undergraduates anywhere in the world get to work on advanced technologies like this,”* said team member and third-year mechatronics student Riki Lamont in the press release.

*”We’re essentially using our own know-how to put the Google driverless car into a boat. It was a competition just like this one that drove the innovations that led to the driverless car – we’re confident we can do the same for maritime technologies.”*

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“Australian students have built a driverless boat that thinks for itself in an emergency”