This robot picks up trash in the Chicago River. The trash bot was created by startup Urban Rivers. It works sort of like a Roomba vacuum cleaner, but on water. It uses a camera to spot trash and pick it up, reducing the need for manual labor. But the robot is not autonomous — it relies on users to drive it via a website and direct it on what trash to collect.
The robot then brings the trash to a designated location where team members can sort through the garbage. The robot is only a prototype but its creators are redesigning it so it can survive all four seasons in the windy city. They plan to also install a camera and high-powered Wi-Fi to discourage vandalism or theft.
There’s more than 5.25 trillion pieces of trash in the ocean, which is often eaten by marine life and also destroys the ecosystem. Urban Rivers says its technology on open sourced so it can be used by other organizations to create their own bots to clean up other places like the ocean. The self-cleaning river love is being spread around so there’s no excuse why more companies shouldn’t take advantage of the technology.