Design of a Garbage Collection Robot

Design of a Garbage Collection Robot

Tawanda Mushiri, Emmison Gocheki
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9924-1.ch004
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The Arduino is programmed to control the robot navigation. The Garbage Collection Robot is designed to collect solid waste at public places (schools, workplaces, and parks) and residential areas. The design of the robot is such that when it starts, it maneuvers as per programmed route. The Garbage Collector can sense by means of capacitive proximity sensors if the obstacle is living (for example, a human being) or non-living (for example, vehicle) and then gives appropriate warning signals like flashing light, hoot, or voice commands. The robot is equipped with vision capabilities in order for it to detect colors, namely green, red, yellow, blue, and black for organics, plastic, metal, paper, and glass, respectively. When the GCR sees a particular color code on garbage container, it picks up the bin, carries it in its carriage, then offloads it at a desired station to wait for recycling or final dumping.
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Garbage (solid waste) management poses a huge challenge both in industry and in urban areas for most countries over the world (Machale, 2015) as shown in Figure 1. Though today there exist several technologies of garbage collection, disposal and recycling, a more efficient method is required in order to maintain a green, safe, and healthy environment. The effects of the drastic growth in population density of residential area and the demand for metropolis environmental protection generate a challenging backbone for waste management (Jamelske, 2005). There are still several significant problems being encountered in collecting, transporting and processing (sorting and recycling) residential and industrial waste as most of the work is entirely manual, requiring much effort and time, especially in developing countries (Loughery, 2018). The uneasiness of waste management procedures is undoubtedly of primary interest to municipal local agencies (Hanshar, 2013). This article seeks to implement robotics and automation to come up with an efficient, safe and productive process of garbage collection, disposal and/or sorting for recycling. This project would lead to a low-cost waste management technique as the robot would be set to work repeatedly without much cost, besides the routine maintenance costs.

Figure 1.

The world infested with garbage. (Courtesy of WHO)



A robot can be comprehended as a programmable, self-guided device constituting electronic, electrical, and/or mechanical components(Rakesh, A, & Ajay, 2013). Essentially, a robot is a machine that can function as a substitute for some living agent. Robots are mostly desirable for particular work functions, unlike humankind, they can never get tired, they can perform, Dirty, Dangerous, Dull and Dear (4D’s) tasks (Salmador, Cid, & Novelle, 1989). uncomfortable or dangerous physical conditions, they can do operate well in confined or airless conditions, they never get bored when doing repetitive work, and they can never get themselves distracted from an ongoing task at hand. A robot is a powerful and reliable machine and can perform well in areas of hot temperature where humankind can get tired and sick after working for considerably long hours(Rakesh, A, & Ajay, 2015). A typical vehicle that is used in garbage collection is shown in Figure 2. This technique of garbage collection is entirely manual as humans have to pick up waste and load it in the payload.

Figure 2.

Present day garbage truck (Courtesy of the Environmental Management Agency)


The current technique of collection, transportation, sorting and/or disposal of industrial solid waste is mainly manual, taking a lot of efforts, time consuming, unsafe and posing hazards to humankind and environment as shown in figure 3.

Figure 3.

Current garbage collection technique (Courtesy of Harare Town Council)


The garbage collection robot should be able to:

  • 1.

    Detect garbage tins for collection.

  • 2.

    Pick up the tins successfully, pack and hold them in its payload.

  • 3.

    Transport the tins and offload them at a dumping site or recycling station.

  • 4.

    High speed stability.

  • 5.

    Low speed maneuverability.

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