This solar-powered robot is made to keep beaches clean

The savvy robot is specifically designed to help clean up the smaller plastic waste that is hard for humans to notice.
BeBot

Keeping beaches clean is an important and tedious task and so a few companies are experimenting with novel solutions such as robots to collect all the garbage people leave behind.

To that end, 4Ocean has partnered with Poralu Marine, a global leader in marine-grade technologies, to launch a beach cleaning robot designed to recover coastal plastic debris. Called BeBot, the solar-powered robot is specifically designed to help clean up smaller plastic waste.

The robot, according to the company, is needed because the shores are currently so polluted that it would be almost impossible to clean it with human work alone. In addition to the larger pieces of trash like plastic water bottles or food packaging, there is a lot of small waste that is hard for humans to notice — such as smaller packages, cigarette butts, and microplastics.

The electric-powered BeBot is able to clean up to 3,000 sqm of beach per hour, which is said to be 20-30 times more efficient than collecting trash on the beach by hand. Agile and easy to maneuver, the robot specifically excels at removing small pieces of plastic and other trash that are notoriously difficult to clean by hand, using small 1×1 cm sifting grids to separate these items from the sand.

The BeBot’s smaller footprint and more shallow cleaning depth of 10 cm effectively remove common beach trash while avoiding disruptions to any nearby habitats or animals — thus providing for a sustainable approach to cleanups. The robot is remotely operated, can be used daily, and is controlled by an operator up to approximately 950 feet (300 meters) away. It runs on batteries connected to a solar panel and is said to be quiet enough not to disturb wildlife or beachgoers.

After the machine is full, someone needs to sort through the contents to separate recyclable plastic and trash from materials that can return to the sand.

The BeBot is part of 4Ocean’s goal of eliminating 20 million pounds of waste by the end of 2021.

Takeaway

The BeBot was developed by marine infrastructure manufacturer Poralu Marine and 4Ocean as a way of cleaning up coastlines with minimal disruption to these precious ecosystems. While manual human sifters can certainly pick up meaningful amounts of trash, it is labor-intensive work.

BeBot is designed to take a more tactful approach. The electric robot runs on a combination of solar and battery power and is remotely controlled by a human operator. It digs up to 10 cm into the sand and mechanically sifts the grains through a mesh screen to gather pieces of plastic and other debris as small as a centimeter squared — such as cigarette butts, food wrappers and bottle caps.

The robot can clean up to 3,000 sqm (32,000 sq ft) of beach per hour, and features an agile track system that enables it to turn on the spot, allowing it to function in tight areas. Its creators imagine it finding use in everything from hotels, to beachfront properties, to nature reserves and even golf courses.
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FOR PUBLIC OFFICIALS:
BeBot is an ideal solution for any city with a (sand) beach. It will not (necessarily) eliminate the jobs of those who pick up the trash by hand, but will make their work more efficient. Also, it can work while cleaning by hand is not an option, or when workers are taking a much-needed break. Given all its benefits and considering that everyone wants to go on a clean beach, selling the idea of procuring a BeBot to your community shouldn't be a problem. Or so we think.

FOR BUSINESSES:
If your business serves cities with (sand) beaches, consider contacting 4Ocean to bring their BeBots to as many places as possible. What you would offer to the city council is nothing but benefits - keeping beaches clean at a fraction of the cost of human labor. That being said, human labor will still be required for picking up bigger trash as well as for operating the BeBot. Nevertheless, this savvy little robot will be able to do the work humans can hardly do and do it in a way that doesn't harm the environment. As such, it should be an easy sell.