The street cleaners of the future may look like something out of a sci-fi movie.
Meet Scarab, a design concept by Olga Kalugina. This tiny automated robot has been designed to pick up trash in large, urban areas. Similar to how the highly efficient vacuuming robot Roomba cleans living rooms, Scarab could keep shopping areas and streets free of litter.
According to Tuvie, the way Scarab works is fairly simple. Two web cameras and sensors are used to estimate the size of the area being cleaned and detect trash, which is picked up with diagonal sweeper-collectors that resemble arms.
Large and small trash is separated into internal bins and Scarab then locates the nearest waste receptacle to dispose of its contents.
Concerns have been raised about vandalism, if the Scarab were left to roam the streets alone. There is a chance it could be taken or run over by larger vehicles on the road.
Many other design concepts have been created to use robots as literal cleaning machines. The WatCleaner could skim the surface of the ocean, absorbing oil and beginning to take a small bite out of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
DustCart, a prototype trash robot in Italy, was invented to be able to maneuver the streets, which are often difficult for garbage trucks to navigate. DustCart drives to any house needing trash pickup. After entering a personal identification number, the user tells the robot if the material is organic, recyclable or waste. It is then taken by DustCart to be disposed of properly.