Startup fights litter and conducts experiments in Scheveningen
The Hague based entrepreneurs, Martijn Lukaart and Edwin Bos of TechTics, a new tech consultancy startup, were annoyed by the amount of litter that people leave behind on their beach. They requested the help of Delft University of Technology and together they built the first demo of a litter picking robot that uses artificial intelligence. The robot, called .BB (BeachBot), stops as soon as it recognizes a cigarette with sufficient certainty, for example, and then automatically collects the waste. The Municipality of The Hague is the launching customer of Project.BB and with the cooperation agreement in place it will be possible to conduct experiments on the beach and boulevard of Scheveningen with the robot and related gamification applications.
Martijn Lukaart, Project.BB: “From a technical point of view, it is unique that our solution will recognize more and more litter over time. The robot and the digital twin of the robot will interact with humans to train the detection algorithm. The robot asks for the help of people if it sees litter which it can’t recognize. With this approach, we are going to collect more and more data about litter: what type of litter is there and how much? We also use the data in a mobile game and augmented reality experience to show people the impact of litter and how they can contribute to keeping the beach clean.”
Edwin Bos, Project.BB: “Anyone who thinks that robots will soon be driving on the beach and will pick up all the litter, is wrong. In any case, because the robot is still very slow to work and is far from efficient. The use of robotics and new tech is mainly intended to create more awareness about litter. First and foremost, waste shouldn’t go be on the beach at all, and it’s bizarre how easily people leave their mess after a beach day. The impact is enormous because even a cigarette filter consists of plastic and can pollute up to 500 liters of water. ”
Yvette Entius, Program Manager Digital Innovation / Smart Cities at the Municipality of The Hague: “We want to apply digital innovation on the boulevard of Scheveningen to solve societal issues. Together with Project.BB, we can learn how digitization can work positively for the city and what the role of data is in this. The experiments should start a discussion about how we deal with litter and the use of robots in outdoor areas. ”
Project.BB is looking for more creative volunteers, programmers, sponsors and people who want to help train the robot. Contact information and registration for the newsletter can be found at https://project.BB.