Using a Robot to Detect and Collect Garbage in India

Waste management is one of the significant problems throughout the developing world. India is no exception as the country generates approximately 1,00,000 metric tons of solid waste every day. Streets and clogged sewers littered with garbage are breeding grounds for diseases and pollution. Scientists at one college are turning to AI and robotics to help solve the problem.

Researchers at Vishwakarma Government Engineering College in India have created a robot prototype, which autonomously locates and picks up trash. They are calling it Automatic Garbage Detection and Collection (AGDC) and have recently released their findings in a research paper.

Garbage Picking Robot Uses Arm-Like Gripper

The system utilizes machine learning and AI algorithms to identify and locate waste. Once identified, the robot collects the trash using a gripper and then stores it in an onboard drawer.

“AGDC is the robotic system, in which machine learning algorithms are used for the detection of the garbage lying on the ground. After detection of the garbage, the position of the garbage is calculated. This position is shared serially with a microcontroller controlling the robotic arm. A robotic arm collects the detected garbage and puts it into a container which is attached to a robot. Hence, this system can be used as a substitute for humans for finding and collecting the garbage,” said the research paper.

Robot Garbage Collection AI - YellRobot

AI Garbage Collection Utilizes Neural Networks

The system uses convolutional neural networks (CNNs) to detect any rubbish that’s nearby. It then calculates its position by analyzing images collected by a camera on the unit.

Once the system detects a piece of garbage, another algorithm estimates the distance between the robot and the rubbish. It then sends the bot to go and pick it up.

“The camera will start capturing the video and machine learning algorithms will check for the presence of garbage frame by frame of the real-time video. If garbage is detected, then it will find the location of that garbage with respect to itself and communicate the location to the controller,” said the paper.

The researcher’s prototype is able to collect up to about a half a pound of garbage at a time. In the future, they plan to expand it to up to 6.5 pounds. The paper also states that the robot can be connected to the Internet for monitoring.

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