SHIFT Invest and LUMO Labs invest in Roboat to transform inland waterway transport with fully autonomous boats

Press release July 4, 2024

AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands – LUMO Labs, through its TTT. AI Fund, and SHIFT Invest announce an investment of €550,000 in Roboat, a spin-out from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS), contributing to safe, efficient, and sustainable transport and improved urban liveability, by automating waterways.

The funding underscores the investors’ confidence in Roboat’s vision and technological process to date. It will be crucial in establishing a position in the autonomous shipping market within city logistics and inland waterways and expanding the team to achieve company goals.

Roboat’s AI-powered system is developed to excel in highly complex urban and inland waterways, where heavy traffic conditions are the norm. The Roboat autonomy system can be applied to new builts and also to retrofit commercial vessels for various applications, including passenger transport, goods pick-up and delivery, including building materials, and waste collection, significantly reducing the carbon footprint of city logistics.

Andy Lürling, Founding Partner LUMO Labs, “Cities worldwide are struggling with transporting people and goods over their congested roads. Waterborne transportation is a good alternative to cars and trucks, but shortage of personnel and relatively high OpEx is currently posing a bottleneck. Roboat’s technology offers a solution based on autonomous navigation. This market is expected to grow tremendously, since we need to rethink our transportation systems, making it more versatile and more sustainable.”

Ynse Hendrik Deinema, Roboat CEO & Co-founder stated, “We are collaborating already with multiple clients in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe where our system is either supporting the skipper on the bridgedeck or is even taking full control of the navigation.”

Sven Bakkes Founding Partner LUMO Labs, “The technology is unique and Roboat is one of the few out there who can show a live demonstration of high levels of autonomous navigation in these complex urban waterways. The team has proven that they can implement the technology in various vessels, under varying circumstances. They are now working towards a generic autonomy system, that can be widely applied within the inland shipping market.”

This investment from LUMO Labs and SHIFT Invest follows prior funding from Delft Enterprises. 

Quint van Honk, SHIFT Invest, stated, “We are impressed by what Roboat has accomplished so far. In addition, Roboat’s autonomous shipping technology stimulates sustainable waterborne transport by addressing key issues in the sector and enables more fuel-efficient sailing. Therefore, we are proud to be on board.”

Shipping companies can outfit their fleet with a Roboat system to support the day-to-day operation. By using advanced technologies, Roboat is able to create ships that can perceive, navigate, and perform tasks on their own. It provides a range of features such as situational awareness, decision support, obstacle identification and avoidance, automated docking and mooring, and autonomous sailing. These services are offered under a subscription and can be easily tweaked to the requirements of the operator.

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