It may not be as tiny or nimble as Wall-E, but this real-life DustCart robot traversing the streets of Peccioli, Italy is just as cute. The robot, part of the $3.9 million DustBot research program, collects trash and measures atmospheric pollutants like sulfur oxide, benzene, ozone, and nitrogen oxide with its on-board sensors. The robot can even be summoned with a cell phone and can go door to door, identify residents with a personal ID number, and sort their trash into organic, recyclable, or waste!
Nimble enough to navigate where conventional gas-guzzling garbage trucks cannot, the electric DustCart robot aims to clean up a dirty industry. Once garbage has been classified, the DustCart whisks it away into its belly and takes it to a waste management site. The DustCart avoids obstacles during its travels with pre-loaded maps and sensors.
The pear-shaped robot is still in the prototype stages since its response time is still too slow for it to work on crowded streets and robots aren’t legally allowed to roam around without human guidance in Peccioli. But who knows — some day soon you may see a friendly green robot zipping down your street to save the day.
Photos by Fulvio Paolocci