Drones

Garbage-gobbling drone may be coming to a harbor near you

Garbage-gobbling drone may be ...
One of the WasteShark prototypes (either Fatboy or Slim) at work in the Port of Rotterdam
One of the WasteShark prototypes (either Fatboy or Slim) at work in the Port of Rotterdam
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One of the WasteShark prototypes (either Fatboy or Slim) at work in the Port of Rotterdam
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One of the WasteShark prototypes (either Fatboy or Slim) at work in the Port of Rotterdam
The WasteShark takes the form of a small electric catamaran with a scoop (or "mouth," if you will) located between the pontoons
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The WasteShark takes the form of a small electric catamaran with a scoop (or "mouth," if you will) located between the pontoons
A rear view of the WasteShark
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A rear view of the WasteShark
Plans call for the WasteShark to collect data such as water quality, depth and weather conditions, transmitting that information to port authorities in real time
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Plans call for the WasteShark to collect data such as water quality, depth and weather conditions, transmitting that information to port authorities in real time
The WasteShark's onboard software will allow it to progressively learn about its environment, so it can tweak its routes for maximum efficiency depending on weather and tides
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The WasteShark's onboard software will allow it to progressively learn about its environment, so it can tweak its routes for maximum efficiency depending on weather and tides
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There may indeed be floating plastic waste strewn all across the surface of the world's oceans, but most of that trash still enters the water along the shoreline. It was with this in mind that South African entrepreneur Richard Hardiman created the WasteShark. It's an aquatic drone that's designed to autonomously cruise harbors and gulp down garbage, before that waste can drift out to sea.

Manufactured by Hardiman's Netherlands-based company RanMarine, the craft takes the form of a small electric catamaran with a scoop (or "mouth," if you will) located between the pontoons. As the WasteShark moves through the harbor, that scoop skims the surface and collects floating trash, transferring it into an onboard hopper for subsequent removal.

Plans call for the drone to also collect data such as water quality, depth and weather conditions, transmitting that information to port authorities in real time. Additionally, its onboard software will allow it to progressively learn about its environment, so it can tweak its routes for maximum efficiency depending on weather and tides.

The WasteShark takes the form of a small electric catamaran with a scoop (or "mouth," if you will) located between the pontoons
The WasteShark takes the form of a small electric catamaran with a scoop (or "mouth," if you will) located between the pontoons

Hardiman's project was recently accepted into a Dutch accelerator program for port-related technologies, which is what brought him to The Netherlands. He and his team have been testing WasteShark prototypes in the Port of Rotterdam – they're of two different sizes, and are thus named Fatboy and Slim. A pilot project ultimately calls for four of the craft to work the port over the next few months.

In the long run, Richard hopes to develop a larger solar-powered version called the Great Waste Shark, that can collect up to 500 kg (1,102 lb) of trash at a time. Onboard sensors including a camera will help it avoid collisions with other harbor traffic, although geofencing technology will also be used to keep it out of particularly busy areas.

For now though, you can see the prototypes in action, in the video below.

Sources: RanMarine, Port of Rotterdam via Popular Science

RanMarine WasteShark

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3 comments
windykites
Why not tow a net suspended under buoys between to boats? That would cover a much larger area.
They could have thrown some rubbish in the water to give better demonstration. I think it is a bit lame.
Bob Flint
More like a surface minnow sucking up oranges, and floating surface debris. It's a noble effort, but something this small won't cut it. Think of all the crap we have dumped into the waterways around the world, and sits way below the water line...
rpark
...sort of like a 'Roomba' for a harbor.