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Now, a robot to pick up your rubbish

world Updated: Jul 04, 2010 18:01 IST

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In what could solve the problem of garbage collection, European scientists have developed an intelligent robot that will come to your door and collect rubbish when called.

The human-sized robot, called DustCart, that balances on a Segway base and can navigate itself to stop outside your door on demand.

Researchers who developed the robot said it is safe to use on the streets and can solve a very real problem for waste authorities across Europe.

Professor Paolo Dario, from the Sant'Anna School in Pisa, who coordinated the EU-funded DustBot project, said: "We've taken the very best and most advanced robotics components to build DustCart which solves a very real problem for waste authorities across Europe.

"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," he was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.

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.

DustCart 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, the report said.

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."

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

The DustCart 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.