Environment

Autonomous marine trash gobbler takes on invasive weeds too

Autonomous marine trash gobbler takes on invasive weeds too
The Class 3 Clearbot features an 8-hour battery plus solar panels, 500 kg on onboard trash storage and a specialized cutter for clipping and extracting invasive weeds
The Class 3 Clearbot features an 8-hour battery plus solar panels, 500 kg on onboard trash storage and a specialized cutter for clipping and extracting invasive weeds
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The Class 3 Clearbot features an 8-hour battery plus solar panels, 500 kg on onboard trash storage and a specialized cutter for clipping and extracting invasive weeds
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The Class 3 Clearbot features an 8-hour battery plus solar panels, 500 kg on onboard trash storage and a specialized cutter for clipping and extracting invasive weeds
The Class 3 Clearbot 's cutter taking a bite out of invasive hyacinth
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The Class 3 Clearbot 's cutter taking a bite out of invasive hyacinth
The Class 3 Clearbot can collect up to 200 kg of floating trash per hour, and can tow an additional storage barge for up to 1.5 tonnes of payload per trip
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The Class 3 Clearbot can collect up to 200 kg of floating trash per hour, and can tow an additional storage barge for up to 1.5 tonnes of payload per trip
The Class 3 Clearbot includes a 3-kWh battery pack for up to 8 hours of operation, but that can be extended via the rooftop solar panels
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The Class 3 Clearbot includes a 3-kWh battery pack for up to 8 hours of operation, but that can be extended via the rooftop solar panels
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Clear Robotics is expanding its fleet of autonomous marine trash collectors. Its Class 3 vessel boasts more onboard storage capacity plus towed barge potential for extended cleanup operations, and has also been designed to tackle invasive weeds.

Looking for a way to automate the labor-intensive task of cleaning floating waste from local waters, a pair of Hong Kong University graduates came up with a robotic vessel dubbed Clearbot. The basic idea was to send the little trash gobbler into harbors, lakes and canals, where it would take a bite out of floating debris with its gaping mouth (open bow) and collect it in bins for responsible disposal or recycling.

The design got a funky makeover from gaming company Razer mid-2021, and numerous Clearbots have started work in the years since. Now the company has stepped things up a notch with the launch of a Class 3 vessel in the North East Region of India.

The new system has been designed to gather up to 200 kg (441 lb) of floating garbage per hour, and has an onboard storage capacity for 500 kg (1,100 lb) but can be equipped with a towing barge to extend its per-trip payload to 1.5 tonnes.

The Class 3 Clearbot includes a 3-kWh battery pack for up to 8 hours of operation, but that can be extended via the rooftop solar panels
The Class 3 Clearbot includes a 3-kWh battery pack for up to 8 hours of operation, but that can be extended via the rooftop solar panels

Its electric drive can manage an average speed of 3 knots (3.5 mph), while the 3-kWh battery pack is reckoned good for up to 8 hours of per-charge operation. Clear Robotics has installed solar panels up top that can add an extra 4 hours in ideal conditions. The company also reports that it has rolled out a self-docking mechanism across its entire fleet, so that its vessels can autonomously return to docking stations with a solar charging unit for a top up.

The 4.04 x 2.3 x 1.68-m (13.25 x 7.5 x 5.5-ft) Class 3 Clearbot features a 1080p camera and LiDAR, and can be optioned with anti-collision smarts for full autonomous operation. It features a conveyor in front to gather up floating debris, but is also equipped with a specialized cutter to enable extraction of invasive plants and weeds like hyacinth and duck weed.

If on trash duty, the vessel is reported capable of covering up to 10,000 sq m (107,600 sq ft) per day, though that's reduced to 2,500 sq m (~27,000 sq ft) when snipping and removing weeds.

We've no word on commercial availability, but you can see the latest member of the Clearbot fleet weed whacking in the following video.

Hyacinth Cleaning Machine

Source: Clear Robotics

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