The idea of automated garbage collection is gaining popularity in the United States, but the robots are still limited.
Now a startup in the US is offering a robot that can collect garbage in real-time, and at an affordable price.
Susan Rice, the founder and CEO of the company, is trying to address the lack of robot garbage collection with an affordable and reliable system that can automatically scan a neighborhood and then send a robotic garbage truck to pick up and remove the waste.
“It’s been a little bit of a struggle, especially for a smaller company, but we think this can be an alternative to human garbage collection,” Rice told Business Insider.
“It’s not only good for us but also good for the environment, because it’s not just collecting it, it’s taking it.”
In order to achieve the low cost of the robot, Rice says that it needs to be connected to a network, but she said that it can be done with just a few basic pieces of hardware.
“We’ve designed the robot to be low-cost,” she said.
“The hardware is just an Arduino, an ATMega328, a USB-to-Serial converter and a microSD card.”
Solving the problem of a cheap and easy robot is important for Rice, because she believes that the problem with robots is that they are easily damaged.
“People tend to think that robots are built to be disposable and cheap,” she explained.
“But the reality is they’re not, and that’s why it’s really important for people to have the best of both worlds.”
Susana Rice’s robots can collect trash at an impressive cost.
Business Insider/Julie Tarkovsky A robot will typically take a few hours to scan a large area of an area, but in Rice’s company’s case, the robot can collect at an average of one minute.
This can be increased by the robot’s ability to automatically scan nearby areas and collect garbage on demand.
In order for the robot system to work, the garbage collector needs to know where it needs the garbage, and if it is nearby, it will automatically scan it.
“Once the robot has the garbage that it is looking for, it knows where it is,” Rice said.
“The trash collector needs that information to know that the robot is there.”
This is a key feature of the technology.
If the garbage collection system is damaged, it is unable to locate the garbage collectors location.
In addition, if the robot collects garbage on its own, it cannot identify where the garbage was collected, so it will likely collect garbage at a different location.
“With the garbage robot, if something happens, it does not know where the trash was collected,” Rice explained.
“Because the robot will have to scan through a lot of data to find the garbage truck and collect it, there is a lot more data that needs to go through to get it to the right location.”
The robot can scan an area with just three lines of code.
The robot will scan and remove garbage at any time of day.
Business Insider/Kaitlyn BurtThe robot will be able to scan an entire block of streets in the neighborhood, or even multiple blocks.
“If we get there at a certain time of year, we can remove garbage, or take it to another location, or we can take it out and pick it up,” Rice added.
While Rice says the robot garbage collectors ability to find and remove trash is not as fast as it could be, it can still find garbage on a regular basis.
“We can scan a block of a block and remove up to five tons of trash in a single day,” she told Business Today.
Rice also believes that automated garbage picking can be used for other purposes.
“If we can get it down to a small number of people, or if it’s going to be on-demand, we will be using it to deliver groceries, or delivery services, or just take care of the household,” she noted.