Waste Streams: a concept for autonomous waste collection on the Amsterdam canals

Researchers at MIT and AMS Institute have developed an alternative strategy for garbage collection in the historic center of Amsterdam: Waste Streams part of the Roboat project. The Amsterdam Canals are still marred by curbside trash. By bringing back the original purpose of the canals (access to the inner city for transport and collection of goods) the city’s water-rich infrastructure can be used to innovatively and efficiently manage the collection of household waste by using autonomous boats.

Waste Streams combines autonomous boats with floating dumpsters: the autonomous boats bring floating dumpsters to specific locations and return to collect them when they are full.

Waste Streams brings several benefits to the city. Besides removing the trash bags from the sidewalks and the garbage trucks from the streets, the use of Roboat could bring economic benefits. Every year the city of Amsterdam, with almost 900.000 inhabitants, generates more than 300.000 tons of waste. Based on the number of residents, the city would need to install 283 underground containers to serve this community; with the responsive system proposed in Waste Streams, only 48 floating containers are needed to cover all pick-up points defined for the inner city. With a responsive system, Roboat can optimize pick-up times, optimizing the overall efficiency of the inner city waste collection, including energy savings on unnecessary movements.

Waste Streams proposes two complementary systems: one for household waste collection, and another specifically designed for hotels. Next to exploring the use case for waste collection in the inner city, the concept also introduces the envisioned design. This design takes lessons from other use cases such as transportation and on-demand bridges to improve the overall effectiveness of the Roboat platform.



Source: AMS Institute

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