Back in September, Volvo announced its concept of a small, autonomous robot that picks up and empties trash bins. Named ROAR (RObot based Autonomous Refuse handling), the project has moved into prototype testing and involves recycling company Renova, as well as universities in the U.S. and Sweden.
“We predict a future with more automation,” said Per-Lage Götvall, project manager for robot development in the Volvo Group. “This project is intended to stimulate our imagination, to test new concepts that may shape transport solutions of the future.”
Designed to autonomously vacant trash cans from the back of a garbage truck, the ROAR system saves the driver from having to manually stuff bins into the hopper. Though the initial concept involved just the robot that depends on maps, GPS, and accelerometers, in the last four months, the concept elaborated to add the use of a drone that takes off from the top of a traditional garbage truck, acts as the eyes for the lifting robot by identifying bins that need to be vacated.
Then the prototype collects the bins and clears the garbage into the truck. The whole process relies on a number of sensors for navigation and lifting tasks, including cameras, GPS, infrared radar, gyroscopes, and accelerometers. Also, the system is able to navigate around obstacles. It comes with an emergency button that immediately stops the robot if, a dog or cat or any child suddenly runs out in front of it. Along with that, the camera on the truck detects whether anyone comes too close while the trash cans are being vacated.
Converting a manual garbage processing system into a fully autonomous process is surely a perfect fit as it’s a job that only a few people want to do. And also in the near future, most of the jobs will be done by the autonomous robot, so you shouldn’t be surprised to see a robot is cleaning your garbage can regularly.