Volvo ROAR: a garbage truck and robot assisted by a drone

Volvo, Renova and students from three universities collaborated to floor on a garbage truck goes scavengers. These are indeed replaced by a robot that picks up the trash, assisted by a drone that makes a location scouting.

The future is automation. Drones are becoming more independent, including the new Phantom 4 DJI, like cars, like the Tesla Model S with its Autopilot feature or new Volvo PilotAssist II. This is also Volvo Group who comes to work with Renova, a company specializing in the design of refuse trucks, as well as students from three different universities. The goal was to create a robot capable of picking up the garbage in the street and then unload the truck. They managed, with the help of a drone.

A robot and AR.Drone

In practice, the robot takes the place of garbage at the back of the truck. When it stops, a UAV (here a Parrot AR.Drone), present on the roof of the truck takes off to map the locations and mark the position of bins relative to the robot. The information is then sent to the robot, which can move toward the trash pick up and bring them to empty the inside of the garbage truck. The entire operation is not yet fully autonomous since found a driver in the truck which oversees the entire operation from the screens in the cabin.

Safety has not been put aside since the robot has multiple sensors (cameras, LIDAR, etc.) to identify and avoid objects that could be on his way. When the garbage load operation, it will stop if a pedestrian gets too close to the truck.

For now, the ROAR project is a prototype, and doubt we make it happen in this form. There is however likely that in the coming years, collecting junk becomes increasingly automated although in the specific example, the robot is much slower than a human.

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