Robot-based Autonomous Refuse handling, or ROAR, is a joint venture among Volvo, Chalmers University of Technology, Mälardalen University of Sweden, Penn State and refuse recycling company Renova. It imagines a world where autonomous, human-guided and supervised robots collect garbage.
Paired to a trash truck driven by a human driver, the robots would gather garbage bins, dump the trash in the truck, and return the cans to the curb — as directed by the human driver. ROAR aims to remove people from the messy and physically taxing job of lifting and emptying heavy trash receptacles.
“Within Volvo Group we foresee a future with more automation,” Per-Lage Götvall, project leader for the Volvo Group, said in a statement. “This project provides a way to stretch the imagination and test new concepts to shape transport solutions for tomorrow.”
The development phase of ROAR will continue into 2016. Then the robots will be tested alongside a Renova-designed trash truck.
While neither Volvo Group nor Renova has made a statement regarding public rollout of autonomous trash-collecting robots, it’s not unlikely to imagine that ROAR-like garbage men rolling through your neighborhood in the near future.