TrashBot uses AI to sort recyclables – TechCrunch

There are a number of startups working to improve waste separation with robots. AMP Robotics tops the list, pairing a picker and conveyor to sort materials in large, automated facilities. The technology aims to correct human shortcomings in recycling. Too often people either don’t bother to separate the trash or just don’t understand where things are going.

Founded in 2015, CleanRobotics hopes to fix the problem at the point of disposal. The Colorado company’s flagship Trashbot system uses embedded machine learning and robotic systems to sort materials from a single point of disposal. The machines are claimed to be able to do this with around 90% accuracy – not perfect, but certainly better than what humans generally do.

“Recycling rules are confusing and consumers are often so confused that their recycling accuracy is not random, resulting in highly contaminated recyclables that no one buys,” CEO Charles Yhap said in a press release. “Our system improves material diversion from landfills, resulting in more recyclables and less waste.”

Of course, given the built-in AI/ML, the garbage sorting robot collects data to improve the sorting process. CleanRobotics notes: “The recycling bin of the future doesn’t stop there, it also generates high-quality data for waste inspections, triggers level alerts and has a large display for video content. And with cloud connectivity, your TrashBot fleet will only get smarter over time.”

It’s easy to imagine other trading-related data being used based on the specific junk the system collects.

This week the company announced a $4.5 million Series A led by Melco International Development Limited and featuring SOSV/HAX, Undivided VC and Longmont Evergreen Opportunity Fund. The funding will support CleanRobotics’ plans to produce “hundreds” of systems, in addition to those already installed in high-traffic areas like shopping malls and airports.

The company says it is particularly eyeing partnerships in China, Australia and Singapore. Funds will also be used to pay for additional hires, improve manufacturing, and expand research and development. TrashBot uses AI to sort recyclables – TechCrunch

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