Hungary: How an automatic waste collection vessel fishes waste from rivers


Hungary’s first automatic garbage collection boat, Robo-Collect, was introduced.

The solar-powered boat uses cameras to detect debris floating on the water. Machines on board can then collect and sort the trash.

Every year, 10,000 tons of waste from Romania and Ukraine enter Hungary via rivers. After the war, the situation worsened. At least 200 Ukrainian municipalities have stopped collecting garbage.

Waste sorting using artificial intelligence

Miklós Gyalai-Korpos designed the boat to collect as much trash as possible while using as little energy as possible.

He explains that a machine with metal teeth collects the trash, which is then sorted at the stern of the boat and put into large bags. These bags are brought ashore by small boats, so the robo-collect river cleaner does not need to dock.

In the next step, the waste falls onto a sorting belt: this can separate the waste without human assistance. Sorting is assisted by infrared sensors and artificial intelligence. The plastic goes to a recycling center and the driftwood returns to the river.

PET Cup in Hungary: Waste collection competition

For several years, it has been called “Plastic cup” or “PET Cup” in Hungary Instead, a competition to fish as much junk out of Hungary’s Tisza. The boats are specially made from plastic waste.

Gergely Hankó is one of the organizers of the PET Cup. Speaking at the inauguration of the new garbage collection boat, he said: “They have gained a lot of experience and put it into Robo-Collect.

The construction of Robo-Collect started in 2018. It is planned to be used for the first time next year.

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