The comparison to fictional robot Wall-E is inevitable - after all, with its perpetually stunned eyes and its primary functionality, it does come close to its fictional counterpart. But this robot called DustCart isn't just a figment of anybody's imagination. The green-colored recycle bot is currently undergoing a test run in Peccioli, a small Italian town. Global Post notes that Peccioli is an ideal location for DustCart's testing as the town is renowned for its high-tech dump sites that can both recycle and produce usable energy, thereby creating an economy that has something to do with garbage.
Part of a $3.9 million project called DustBot, DustCart will operate autonomously, responding to users' calls within its service area. As soon as DustCart reaches the caller, it will ask for a personal ID number, ask for the type of garbage they want to dispose of (organic, recyclable or waste) and then collect the trash placed in the bin inside its belly to be taken to a dumping site. Such a scheme will reportedly work better in small towns like Peccioli than larger garbage trucks. Developers, scientists from the Robotics Department at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna University, also installed a sensor on DustCart that monitors air pollutants in real time. In the future, that particular function could be used to feed data to networks that monitor air pollution. Noise pollution is also addressed and curbed by using a lithium-battery operated engine to run the robot and avoid the ruckus made by other vehicles.
In spite of the ongoing test run, it's still unclear whether DustCart will be put to actual use anytime soon. The scientists themselves are concerned on what laws would govern an autonomous robot like DustCart, and like any curious contraption that has only entered public view quite recently, it will take a while for people to be receptive to the idea of its widespread utilization.
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