Beach Littering Survey System

Glasgow Eco Trust is delighted to be sponsoring four University of Strathclyde MEng Electrical and Mechanical Engineering students final year project designing and building a prototype of a beach cleaning robot.

The four students are Allan Smith, Christopher Rae, Marnie McKay and David McCubbin.

The project will design and build a prototype of a beach cleaning robot to deal with the effects of plastics and cigarette butts accumulating on beaches and entering the oceans.

More about the project

Currently, beach clean ups are performed using two main methods: manual labour or automated mechanical machines attached to tractors. There are associated ‘issues’ with each of these methods. Manual labour is strenuous and people often miss small litter (particularly sub-surface). Vehicles emit CO2 emissions and the machines tend to collect everything lying on the surface and sub-surface (up to 15cm). However, this includes natural materials; such as shells and rocks, which are natural barriers on the beach.  

The Beach Littering Survey System aims to design and build a prototype robotic vehicle to clean beaches with a novel approach to eliminate the associated issues with the current methods. Utilising an on-board feeder and filtration system to separate the synthetic materials from natural ones differentiates this project from current systems. In order to be ‘efficient’, a smart system will be developed to identify potential ‘hotspots’ of rubbish on beaches to optimise the beach cleaning process through data processing.

Banner photo by Henriette Welz on Unsplash