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A refuse-collecting robot The Volvo Group is working on a joint venture, together with three

Another example is a camera on the truck that detects if someone

universities and waste recycling company Renova, to develop a

comes too close while the bins are being emptied. If this occurs,

robot that automatically collects and empties refuse bins, with the

the process automatically stops.

help of a drone on the roof of the refuse truck.

It took the students and researchers from the three participating

The idea is that when it is time to begin waste collection, the

universities four months to design and build the prototype robot

driver of the refuse truck presses a button. This starts the robot

that automatically collects and empties the refuse bins. Sweden’s

Illustration: Adrian Wirén, Mälardalens Högskola.

and lifts the drone from the roof of the truck. Flying through

Mälardalen University was responsible for designing the robot

alleyways, the drone quickly finds the location of the refuse bins

itself, while Chalmers University of Technology developed systems

and communicates their positions to the robot. This is followed by

for bin detection, safe emptying and overall system coordination.

automatic waste collection and emptying by the robot. In the cab,

Meanwhile, Penn State University in the US developed the web-

the driver is able to monitor the exact location of the robot and

based 3D interface that allows the driver to monitor the situation

the emptying process.

and, if need be, control the robot.

A prerequisite for the robot’s work is that it already knows the

The project, called ROAR (Robot-based Autonomous Refuse

neighbourhood in the form of a map of both the manoeuvrable area

handling), demonstrates how smart machines will soon be able to

and likely bin locations. The robot then uses a number of different

communicate with each other to facilitate everyday life in a large

sensors to keep itself positioned within this map, enabling it to

number of areas — not just refuse handling.

automatically perform its tasks. The sensors include GPS, LiDAR,

“We predict a future with more automation,” said Per-Lage

cameras and IMU data, which uses accelerometers and gyroscope

Götvall, project manager for robot development at the Volvo Group.

for navigation as well as odometry, where motion sensors measure

“This project is intended to stimulate our imagination, to test new

the position changes over time.

concepts that may shape transport solutions of the future.”

Many of the robot’s sensors are also used to ensure safety. One example is an emergency button, which immediately stops

Volvo Group Australia Pty Ltd

the robot if, for example, a child or a dog runs out in front of it.

www.volvo.com

disclaimer notice All material published in this magazine is published in good faith and every care is taken to accurately relay information provided to us. Readers are advised by the publishers to ensure that all necessary safety devices and precautions are installed and safe working procedures adopted before the use of any equipment found or purchased through the information we provide. Further, all performance criteria was provided by the representative company concerned and any dispute should be referred to them.

34 Sustainability Matters - Apr/May 2016

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Sustainability Matters Apr/May 2016  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...

Sustainability Matters Apr/May 2016  

Sustainability Matters is a bi-monthly magazine showcasing the latest products, technology and sustainable solutions for industry, governmen...