Here is a fleet of autonomous boats that can change shape to adapt to any task. MIT’s fleet of robotic boats autonomously disconnect and reassemble. They have rectangular hulls with sensors, thrusters, microcontrollers, and other components. As MIT explains, the researchers developed:
an algorithm that enables the roboats to smoothly reshape themselves as efficiently as possible. The algorithm handles all the planning and tracking that enables groups of roboat units to unlatch from one another in one set configuration, travel a collision-free path, and reattach to their appropriate spot on the new set configuration. In demonstrations in an MIT pool and in computer simulations, groups of linked roboat units rearranged themselves from straight lines or squares into other configurations, such as rectangles and “L” shapes
The goal is to use these boats to form a dynamic bridge across a 60-meter canal between the NEMO Science Museum in Amsterdam’s city center and an area that’s under development. Pretty fascinating, don’t you think?