Meet Dustbot, Your Future On-Demand Garbage Collector

Forgot to take out the garbage and missed the collection schedule? Had a party and want to send all those beer cans to a recycling center? In the future, taking care of both will be a phone call away with Dustbot, a fully-autonomous trash-collecting robot.

Created by researchers from the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna CRIM Lab in Pisa, Italy, the rubbish-packin' golem travels from place to place, picking up all the refuse from homes that requested its service. Once you've got trash to take out, simply notify the robot using your mobile phone. It will then make its way to your exact address using your phone's GPS location. You will need to tell it what kind of trash you're putting in (whether it's for the landfill, for the bottle recycling plant or for a different reuse facility). It will then take it to the nearest appropriate location.

The Dustbot uses a Segway as base, allowing it to keep pace with Steve Wozniak on the sidewalk any day of the week. Measuring 4.9 feet tall and weighing 154 lbs, it should feel like a real person walking the street among the masses, too. Using onboard GPS and motion sensors, it can make its way from one address to another, all while carrying nearly 70 lbs of trash inside its body. It powers up using an integrated battery that lets it travel up to 10 miles without a recharge.

Because of precise movement and its rather small size, it can navigate tight alleyways that are prevalent in urban environments, helping it reach homes while taking the most efficient routes. Since it's a robot, it's available 24x7 too, making it considerably more convenient than conventional garbage collection services.

Of course, it's kind of freaky watching 5-foot Dustbot automatons walking side by side with you on busy streets, but I bet they said the same thing about people wearing Bluetooth headsets too. Oh wait, it's still kind of freaky watching people talk to themselves. Oh well.

[via IEEE Spectrum]