Autonomous ‘Trash-Eating’ Boats Clean up Water Pollution

3 mins read
Credits: RanMarine

Innovators are coming up with innovative ways to design autonomous boats that can be used as trash-eating machines.

RanMarine Technology, a Danish company, has just released the latest innovation. The company has created WasteShark, an aquadrone that can take up water waste much like a Roomba. It can consume up to 200 liters of garbage per ride.

Autonomous Trash-Eating Vessels

The small, autonomous boat is already sailing around Arhus in Denmark, cruising along the rivers and collecting trash to bring it back to shore. The aquadrone can recharge its battery on its own.

The company will also add a companion autonomous vehicle, a flying drone, to assist WasteShark in identifying trash. They will form a supercharged, flying, trash-eating pair.

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A unique lens is fitted to the drone that records data as it scans waterways. An algorithm that learns from machine learning to identify floating plastic and trash then directs the WasteShark to pick them up.

Water pollution is a serious problem, as plastic waste builds upon the water surface, posing a threat both to marine life and human health.

The flying drone has helped the trash-eating vessel to “see” oil leaks, something it was not able to do before. Both can now work together to find oil spillages and clean them up using a special filter.

Fast Company reports that the same startup that developed the data collection algorithm for WasteShark also collaborated with the San Francisco Estuary Institute in order to use machine learning to analyze the impact of waste prevention initiatives. The project tracks the flow of waste into waterways using drones.

WasteShark isn’t the only autonomous trash-chomping vessel: Baltimore’s Trash Wheel is an iconic waterwheel that collects trash. Gwynnda the Good Wheel of the West has just joined the Trash Wheel family.

You might not take the name seriously if it sounds too adorable. Baltimore’s first trash wheel, Mr. Trash Wheel, was created more than a decade back. It has since grown to be a tourist attraction and treasure. Mr. Trash Wheel has even its own Twitter account.

How does the Trash Wheel work?

John Kellett felt compelled to act when he saw the trash heaps in Baltimore harbor. Clearwater Mills LLC, his company, built the first trash wheel.

The members of the Trash Wheel family are powered by solar cells and water wheels. They act as trash interceptors, collecting garbage from the sea and then transporting it via conveyor belts to the ship’s containers. They are also all five feet tall and have googly eyes. Who said trash collection couldn’t be fun?

[h/t]: Free Think

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