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DustCart: The ‘bin on wheels’ robot that picks up your rubbish when you call.


It might seem like something out of a 1960s, Jetsons-style vision of the future.

But this handy little robot could end the row over fortnightly bin collections once and for all.

Researchers have developed an intelligent robot that can navigate itself around a city’s streets and collect resident’s rubbish on demand.

An EU-funded project has resulted in a human-sized robot, called DustCart, that balances on a Segway base and can navigate itself to stop outside your door when summoned.

A resident in the Italian town of Peccioli gets to grips with DustCart during the trial

A resident in the Italian town of Peccioli gets to grips with DustCart during the trial

Professor Paolo Dario, the coordinator of Dust Bot said: ‘We’ve taken the very best and most advanced robotics components to build Dust Cart which solves a very real problem for waste authorities across Europe,’ explains Professor Dario.

‘Yes, it is a bin on wheels – there’s the drawer in which you place your bag of rubbish or recycling – but there’s a lot more to the robot than that.’


The robot is able to guide itself around narrow streets

The robot is mounted with cameras and other sensors so it can ‘see’ where it is going. It scans the path ahead and processes the information to avoid stationary objects.

It also picks out moving objects like pedestrians or bikes ad quickly computes their trajectory and alters its course to avoid a collision.

The visual images are also relayed to a control centre where human operators can check everything working properly and are able to intervene if necessary.

Dust Cart uses a clever triangulation system to navigate its way to a resident’s home by interacting with wireless networks.

The network can pinpoint the robot, calculate optimal routes between pick-ups, and communicate this information to the robot.

Professor Dario said: ‘It is the dream of every robotics research to develop a fully automated and intelligent system but we have chosen a different approach.

‘Here, we have a smart robot in a smart environment; the robot ‘talks’ to its surroundings and the surroundings communicate back. This means the robot has access to a lot more information and computing power.’

Dust Cart has three levels of intelligent control. First there are the autonomous, built-in systems including motion sensing, obstacle avoidance and user-interface functions including speech recognition.

It also uses ‘intelligent’ data processing to help it navigate it through the streets.

Finally, a human control centre monitors operations, but only intervenes in an emergency – if someone tries to steal the robot, for example -  or where the technology fails.

Two DustCart r

Two DustCart robots sits either side of their counterparts Dust Clean and who is a street cleaner

Professor Dario said: ‘We have substantial information on the performance of the system and its safety. We have had no major failures yet and no safety breaches. The robot is supervised through CCTV.

‘And we also have insurance, which basically means that the insurer is satisfied that the robot is safe to use on the streets.’

In May, Dust Cart entered a two-month period of service in the small town of Peccioli in Italy – around 100 households being served by two Dust Cart robots.

The Dust Cart has performed demonstrations in six European locations, plus two in Japan and one in South Korea.

The developers say that if upcoming trials prove successful then a working commercial model could be available by the end of this year.

From the:


July 1, 2010 - Posted by | Blogroll, Entertainement, Funny, People, Weird

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