Rubbish Collection by Robots: It's Not as Far Away as You Might Think


Are you a fan of the film WALL-E? The 2008 computer-animated movie depicted a cute rubbish-compacting robot that diligently tried to clean up a heavily polluted earth of the future. A form of these little rubbish robots might be closer to reality than you think. It's interesting to think that the weekly ritual of having your rubbish collected could soon be taken over by robots. In some parts of the world, this is already happening. But how does this work? And what would be different if robots were to collect your rubbish?

Narrow Streets

A robot capable of rubbish collection has been in existence since 2009, although it still has not been deployed on a large scale. The robot was specially developed to overcome a European rubbish collection problem that is not a huge issue in Australia—very old cities with narrow streets. Rubbish trucks are not able to access such streets, meaning that the rubbish needs to be manually collected by workers, as opposed to having bins captured by the rubbish truck's mechanical arm. The rubbish robot can be summoned by a smartphone app and will make its own way to your location. You would then place your rubbish into the robot's cargo section, whereupon the robot would take it away for disposal. It can also sweep the streets!

A Few Shortcomings

The robot is far from perfect, which is perhaps why the idea is still being refined. The robot cannot overcome simple barriers (such as stairs), and its rubbish carrying capacity is rather low (around 40kg). Still, if the technology can be refined, this robot might become a more common sight in Europe. But what about Australia?

Regular Streets

A different form of robotic rubbish collection is being tested, and it's certainly feasible that this might make its way to Australian streets. In addition to its ability to store a large amount of refuse, the rubbish truck also hosts a number of wheeled robots. These are capable of leaving the truck and collecting the rubbish bin from each property on a given street. Each robot will deposit the rubbish back to the truck before moving on to the next home.

Peace and Quiet

This type of rubbish collection will (in theory) result in reduced noise when it comes to rubbish collection as the robot is designed to quietly tip the contents of the bin into the truck. This differs from the rather noisy mechanical arm that is currently in use. So perhaps being woken up by the rubbish truck will become a thing of the past!

It's interesting to think that rubbish collection might soon be handled by robots. In fact, the only human involved might be the person driving the rubbish truck! Of course, for the moment, you will still need to remember to put your rubbish bins out on the right morning.


20 June 2016

Compelling and Creative Commentary on Construction and Contractors: A Blog

Welcome! My name is Frances, and this is my first blog. Whether you found me through a Google search or were passed my link by a friend, I am so glad you found my blog. I plan to fill it with a range of commentary on the world of contracting and construction work, and I hope that you find my ideas compelling and creative. I am a dog trainer, but I have always loved the world of construction. I tend to work a lot on the weekends and evenings, when my clients are off work. As a result, I have a lot of time to write during the day, and I decided to create this blog. Thank you for reading.