The modern seatbelt, Google, and the implantable pacemaker are just a few disruptive innovations with origins on university campuses. Could a self-driving boat be the next notable innovation with university roots?

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Self driving cars are the talk of the town these days. So are drones. Self-automated vehicles of all sorts are considered the future of transportation – human travel and product delivery.

Buffalo Automation is a company that has set out to be one of the first to develop this automated technology for boats. According to co-founder Thiru Vikram, all of the other “spaces” in the self-driving vehicle market were occupied, but it looked as if the AI technology for boats was still a relatively untapped frontier.

Founded in 2015, Buffalo Automation grew out of a course project at the University of Buffalo that saw CEO Thiru Vikram and two fellow students developing a fully autonomous electrically-powered catamaran. “There was a class where you had to make an automated vehicle,” Vikram says. “Most people chose flying drones [but] we saw an opportunity with the lake in the middle of the University.”

Just when the public was getting used to the idea of driverless cars, one company has decided to push the boat out further by unveiling Britain's first robot water taxis.

New York technology firm Buffalo Automation hopes to trial the new technology in Plymouth over the summer.

The water taxis are equipped with an artificial intelligence system called Auto-Mate, which uses cameras and sensors to steer boats without the need of a human driver.

An American tech company is planning to trial unmanned robot water taxis off Plymouth once the coronavirus lockdown is over.

New York state-based Buffalo Automaton has been making a name for itself across the Atlantic with the groundbreaking artificial intelligence (AI) autonomous navigation technology it is developing.

We have laughed. We have cried.

The Business First  “Five startups to watch” feature has been a mixed bag since it debuted five years ago. It has foreshadowed some of the biggest economic stories in Western New York while also spotlighting companies that would go on to struggle, some in very public fashion.

On a recent sunny and warm Fall day, WBFO News got a ride on a 20-foot long speed boat outfitted with an autonomous driving system being developed by Buffalo Automation.

Buffalo Automation’s autonomous vessel, a small Sea Ray outfitted with several cameras and sensors- can be spotted cruising up and down Western New York’s waterways. The boat can drive itself up to 30 mph, navigating the best path through the water while avoiding obstacles like wildlife, kayakers, and other boats.

Chris Edwards was a software engineer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography until last August. Now he spends his days on a small Sea Ray powerboat, teaching it how to drive itself on the Erie Canal. Edwards moved with his wife to Buffalo last year to work for Buffalo Automation, where he is the lead autonomous systems engineer. The company, founded and led by Thiru Vikram, has three separate projects. Its self-navigation system for the shipping industry is growing quickly. Its autonomous navigation project in the trucking industry is still in early research and testing.

Buffalo Automation will build a commercial system for self-navigating boats someday. Sometimes an incremental approach is the best way to reach your ultimate goal. “We’re doing better than expected this year because we’re delivering a product the maritime industry wants,” Vikram said.

DESPITE MANY DEVELOPERS’ efforts to teach cars to steer themselves around roads filled with human drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists, the first great wave of autonomous vehicles may not arrive on land. Instead, it might follow the time-honored tradition of running away from tricky problems by heading for the open seas.

While everyone is focused on driverless cars, perhaps the first sector to usher in autonomous travel might be the marine sector. Buffalo Automation, a New York based AI start-up, has developed a system called AutoMate that can help a boat self-navigate.

Buffalo Automation, a startup in upstate New York that began at the University at Buffalo, just raised $900,000 to help commercialize its AutoMate system—essentially a collection of sensors and cameras to help boats operate semi-autonomously. CEO Thiru Vikram said the company is working with three pilot partners, and intends to target cargo ships and recreational vessels first.

Buffalo Automation, an artificial intelligence (AI) startup that is developing technology for self-navigating boats, has secured $900,000 in seed funding from investors — significantly more than the $700,000 the company set out to raise early this year.

Buffalo Automation has closed on $900,000 in seed funding led by the Jacobs family and backed by various other well-known business executives in Buffalo.

The race to develop driverless cars has captured a lot of attention around the world, but one company in Buffalo is working to bring that technology to the water.

Buffalo Automation, an artificial intelligence startup developing technology for self-navigating boats, has secured $900,000 in seed funding from investors which exceeds their target of $700,000.

Are self-navigating boats on the horizon?

October 16, 2017

We have this saying, anything that's not inherently creative can be automated...think of goods and cargo, and the world's supply chain, just moving itself. You know, we spend our time doing creative, exciting, great things. And we don't have to worry. The world just takes care of itself basically...

Launch NY, Z80 back self-piloting ship startup

December 19, 2016

Buffalo Automation “is at a key point in their development,” said Launch CEO Marnie LaVigne. “Our mission is to help companies at a point when they need some extra steps completed to get to a true smaller seed-stage investment.”

The driverless boat—a vessel navigating on its own, independent of any crew or captain—has existed in folklore for hundreds of years. Ghost ships, like the infamous Flying Dutchman, have long been part of nautical legend...

Buffalo Automation is the top Information Technology and Software company at the statewide New York Business Plan Competition finals! Thanks to an excellent team and great mentors!

Buffalo Automation Group continued to pick up prestigious accolades in Buffalo's startup community this week, winning the University at Buffalo's top entrepreneurship event.

A panel of highly respected judges spent hours pouring over the entries for the Lloyd’s List North American Awards.The awards are to recognise the best in shipping during the last year in the North American region and the winners of each category will be announced during a gala evening on May 19th at Pier Sixty, New York.

We are excited to be chosen to represent WNY at the New York State Business Plan Competition.

CEO Thiru Vikram and Dan Miner of Buffalo Business First chat about the future with autonomous navigation.

UB undergrads building boat tech that can 'see an obstacle in the water and avoid it.'

Driverless technology is making inroads in maritime shipping, search-and-rescue operations and security work. But it has been conspicuously absent from recreational boating.

Hard work pays off as our team wins Buffalo Student Sandbox accelerator program.

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