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DustCart Robot in Peccioli

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Published on Nov 11, 2010

The DustCart and DustClean robot are the results of a research project called DustBot (Networked and Cooperating Robots for Urban Hygiene, http://www.dustbot.org ) funded by the European Commission (IST Program, Strategic objective: Advanced Robotics, Contract number: FP6-045299) with the aim of designing, developing, and demonstrating an innovative system based on robotic and information and communication technologies for the improvement of the management of urban hygiene.

The DustBot project, started in December 2006 and finished in November 2009, and it has been carried out by 9 partners from 5 different countries (Italy, Spain, Sweden, Great Britain and Switzerland) coordinated by the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna of Pisa (Italy).

More in details, the DustBot project designed and developed an innovative system consisting of a network of cooperating robots embedded in an Ambient Intelligence infrastructure, for the accomplishment in the pedestrian zones of the city centres of the following tasks:

-) street sweeping;
-) separate waste collection at home on demand, or door to door waste collection;
-) air quality monitoring.

Two type of robots have been developed: a robot for the door to door collection named DustCart and a robot for road sweeping named DustClean.

The system is composed also by:

-) a recovery station where robots stay during no services times and where they can recharge batteries (Docking Station);
-) a special garbage collection station where robots discharge the waste contained in their hoppers (Discharge Area);
-) a control station where operators can manage the system and monitor robot activities (Control Station).

The DustBot system has been demonstrated in Pontedera, Italy (April 18, 2009), Peccioli, Italy (May 23, 2009), Massa, Italy (June 20 2009), Orebro, Sweden (July 25, 2009) and Bilbao, Spain (September, 19 2009).

From June 2010 to August 2010, two DustCart robots have been extensively tested in the city centre of Peccioli, a small historical village in the countryside of Tuscany.

The experimentation was managed by RoboTech srl and Dedalus spa, together with Belevdere Spa, Comune di Peccioli and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna.

About 18 families and 16 commercial activities participated to the experimentation and used DustCart to throw away their separate waste. The service was active from 8 am to 8 pm.

During the 2 month of experimentation the robots collected plastic, paper and generic garbage for a total of about 585 Kg of waste in about 400 services.

The families involved in the experimentation called the robot by phone. The software installed in the control station managed this call and scheduled a robot to serve the request. The robot, starting form the docking station, reached autonomously the family home and signalled its presence. Then the user interacting by means of the touch screen opened the bin of the robot, put the garbage into the bin and closed it. He also could select the type of separate waste. Then the robot reached the discharge area for discharging the garbage in a proper container according to the type of collected garbage and was ready for a new mission.

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