Volvo Builds Trash Picking Autonomous Robot Prototype

Posted: Feb 29 2016, 9:25pm CST | by , in News | Cars & Vehicles


Volvo Built Trash Picking Autonomous Robot Prototype

The project entitled ROAR (RObot based Autonomous Refuse handling) has entered the testing phase.

Volvo just announced it has developed the prototype of its trash picking robot. The autonomous project is called ROAR (RObot based Autonomous Refuse handling).

According to Volvo they have moved on to the testing phase of ROAR. The robot is designed to autonomously empty trash cans. The trash cans are emptied from the back of a garbage truck.

The robot assists the driver as they do not have to manually load bins into the hopper. Volvo developed ROAR with the help of researchers from three Swedish universities.

These include Chalmers University of Technology, Mälardalen University and Penn State University. Similarly the waste recycling company Renova was also involved. The team designed and constructed the prototype in only four months. 

Per-Lage Götvall is a project manager for robot development at the Volvo Group. According to Götvall, Volvo predicts a future with more automation. ROAR intends to stimulate imaginations and will be a platform to test new concepts.

“We predict a future with more automation,” says Per-Lage Götvall, project manager for robot development in the Volvo Group. “This project is intended to stimulate our imagination, to test new concepts that may shape transport solutions of the future.” 

The prototype includes a drone that takes off from the top of a traditional garbage truck. The small UAV acts as the eyes in the sky for the lifting robot and identifies cans that need to be emptied. The UAV also transmits the position of the trash cans. 

“For us at the Volvo Group, the safety aspect forms the basis of everything we do,” says Per-Lage Götvall. “Accordingly, many of the robot’s sensors are also used to ensure safety”. 

ROAR uses a number of sensors for navigation and lifting duties. Some of the sensors include GPS, cameras, infrared radar, accelerometers, and gyroscopes.

The system also maps out the neighborhood and roads where the prototype is tested. The route of the truck is planned and then the task is performed. The trash truck driver simply monitors the robot throughout the process. 

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