Collect Trash autonomously with quad-copters
(Not a Quad-copter made out of trash)

Similar projects worth following
Notice: Help Wanted!

The Goal of this project is to have one or more Quad-copters armed with cameras and trash collection mechanism able to overfly an open field or parking lot and locate a majority of the trash in the area. Once identified the Quad should be able to navigate to and collect the small items and return them to a receptacle.
For bonus points:
The project should be able to operate many Quads at the same time safely.
The project should autonomously remove trash from the copter into the receptacle.
The entire platform should be mobile (such as mounted on a truck).
The entire process should require minimal human interaction.

Note: this project is still in the early stages of development.

The Final project should be able to complete the following test. Be released into an open field area defined by a human, scan over the whole area and identify trash locations. It should then descend upon the trash, capturing it, before taking flight again and returning to the trash bin with the trash. At the trash bin some mechanism or person should remove the trash before the copter returns to the field.

Examples of trash are, newspaper pages, plastic bags, Styrofoam cups, and grocery bags.

Challenging Trash would also be: Red Solo Cups, Soda Bottles, cardboard and/or small boxes.

Iteration 1 Goals:

Outfit a Quad-copter with a trash collection spike and any additional modifications to make it able to carry a single piece of paper from point A to point B.

Write computer software to control the copter such that it can A) overfly a user defined area To collect visual data of the area and B) can land and collect a flat piece of paper from grassy ground and C) Take off and return with the piece of paper.

Stitching together the video feed from the overfly portion into a single map with positioning.

Computer vision to identify the portion of the image that is the target trash and identify if the trash has been collected by the copter or if the collection failed and should be retried.

Iteration 2 Goals:

Arm/Claw based collection device with autonomous trash collection

Trash deposited into receptacle Automatically.

Optimal flight path calculations

Future Iteration Goals:

Swarm (multi-copter) control

Fully autonomous

Design challenges:

If the stabbing method of trash collection is used the copter will need enough weight for it's fall to puncture the object.

If the grabbing method is used then getting a good grip will be hard (claw game anyone?).

The copter would need extra long 'arms' to keep the turbulence of the blades from knocking the trash free. 

  • 1 × Quad Copter
  • 1 × Downward facing camera and transmitter
  • 1 × Control Station/Computer
  • 1 × Trash collection Arm or Spike
  • 1 × Trash Bin

View project log

Enjoy this project?



PointyOintment wrote 06/12/2014 at 09:29 point
Have you thought at all about how to discriminate between trash and objects installed in/on the ground? A simple way would be to just try lifting, and see if it rises. Though in a field you probably don't have many installed objects.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Raukk wrote 06/12/2014 at 13:26 point
First off, Thank you for your feedback!
For the first iteration I was expecting a Human user to approve all targets (by viewing the photo) to avoid issues with non-trash objects. The end goal would be to define the computer vision and copter behavior to like you said in order to automatically identify objects that are not trash.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Similar Projects

Does this project spark your interest?

Become a member to follow this project and never miss any updates