DustBot: R2D2 cleans up



Talking of robots I came across the following whilst touring the exhibition hall at last month’s conference. The DustBot project aims to improve urban hygiene by developing a network of autonomous, but co-operating, cleaning robots. There are two types: the cleaning robot is equipped with things like a vacuum cleaner whilst the dustcart robot (see photo) is an ‘on-demand’ service that lets you drop a full bin liner into its holder and then carries it away.

Apart from investigating general aspects of robotics it turns out that there is also a pressing need for a system that can handle rubbish collection from the really old, touristy parts of European cities. In places like these there’s often no space for bins and the dustcarts just can’t fit down the narrow streets.

There are going to be five demonstrators set up in cities in Italy, Spain and Sweden, but I’m toying with the idea of requesting a sixth, in Nottingham, to be tested in an ‘industrial’ environment. I reckon it’s just what we need in the office. I can sit here, finishing off a packet or two of sandwiches, and then call up DustBot for a spot of post-prandial waste disposal. Who knows, I might even get a bit of light dusting into the bargain.


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