A robot built by 4Ocean is cleaning up Florida beach as part of the startup company’s mission to clean up the entire world’s oceans.
An ambitious mission for sure, and one for which the company admits “there is no playbook”, but 4Ocean has already collected 28 million pounds of trash from the plastic-polluted salty waters of the world and its program is just getting started.
The robot 4Ocean has supplied to Florida beach is called the BeBot, which collects things like cigarette butts, pieces of plastic and other trash, according to a report on the Fox Weather website.
And while 4Ocean maintains on its website that “cleaning the ocean is our business”, mostly through manual labour, the company’s first move into robotics may herald a more efficient and productive future.
It may lead to autonomous boats collecting plastic and other trash from the oceans without the need to use human labour, something for which the technology is already available but spread out across different companies.
The European Union-funded Seaclear project is aiming to build the first robots to clean the litter from the ocean floor, which is somewhat more technically difficult than trash collection from the surface.
Computer gaming giant Razer has partnered with Clearbot to help design an autonomous trash-collecting boat that can identify floating garbage in the water, catalog it and then collect it into a waste container.
Another nonprofit called Clear Blue Sea has designed a number of innovations for cleaning up the oceans and waterways of the world, including a solar-powered, semi-autonomous marine robot capable of collecting marine plastic pollution without the need for fossil fuels or a human crew.
If you want to read more about these technologies, maybe you would like to read a previous, contributed article we published called 5 ways robots are cleaning up the world’s oceans.
But back to 4Ocean. At the moment, it operates on the basis of partnerships with local organizations. For example, the solar-poweted BeBot robot cleaning up Florida beach is the result of a partnership with nonprofit organization Keep Brevard Beautiful.
“Made for the sole purpose of cleaning and restoring our coastlines while preserving the natural environment, the BeBot is an eco-friendly beach cleaning robot that mechanically sifts sand to remove plastic waste and other debris without harming the local environment,” says 4Ocean on its website.
However, 4Ocean is involved in cleanup projects round the world and is promoting the concept of “plastic neutral” companies and products, whereby enterprises can calculate and offset their “plastic footprint” by recovering trash from the world’s oceans, rivers, and coastlines.
It also raises money by selling certificates and credits through companies can compensate for the plastic their activities eject into the environment.