Emerging Technologies: Ecobots – Environmental Robots

Purpose of having Ecobots

It is imperative that we develop and regulate preventative, reactive, and restorative measures against unsustainable actions that harm our planet.

Marine Robotics and its effectiveness to sustainably maintain world oceans

Marine debris, which is detrimental to aquatic life, chokes ecosystems, and contaminates water, is virtually everywhere on earth. This is even in areas where much of the ocean is still unknown to us. In spite of sustainable efforts to prevent more debris from entering the water, their impact is limited; most pollution comes from debris already in the oceans, which must be removed.

A study by IEEE published in 2019 evaluated ocean litter robotic detection models and found that deep learning-based object detection might be able to detect marine debris in real-time, though the accuracy and interference rate will differ with each model. In addition, more trash data will benefit future research and training of detection models. The researchers also suggest that multimodal robot collaboration be investigated in the future to solve this problem of marine debris detection

(and eventual removal).

Industrial Robots and its uses within waste management sector

Recycling means sending objects to a facility for sorting, cleaning, and processing into raw materials for manufacturing. In order to automate and accelerate this process, researchers are studying the use of industrial robots with advanced manipulation, image processing, and vision capabilities.

Zen Robotics has robotic sorting solutions for two types of waste: Heavy Pickers and Fast Pickers. Heavy Picker can grasp heavyweight and irregularly shaped waste from Construction & Demolition Waste (CDW) while sorting several types of waste simultaneously (Commercial & Industrial Waste – CIW, Municipal Solid Waste – MSW, Plastic, Packaging, and Scrap Metal), while Fast Picker sorts lightweight materials autonomously and continuously (Zen Robotics, 2021).

Ecobots and its overall benefits

  • Reduce material waste by performing tasks with incredible precision and accuracy, through the use of programming, robotic vision systems, and force sensors.
  • Improve recycling processes by using AI technology to scan, identify, and sort items that can be recycled.
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