Well, floating plastic waste might be dispersed all around the surface of the world’s oceans; nevertheless, most of that garbage still manages to enter the water along the shoreline. Keeping this in mind, Richard Hardiman, a South African entrepreneur, designed the WasteShark which is an aquatic drone created to cruise harbors and swallow trash autonomously, before that waste can enter the sea.
The craft has been produced by RanMarine, a Hardiman’s Netherlands-based company, which transforms into a tiny electric catamaran with a scoop (or mouth) located between the pontoons. This scoop flicks through the surface and brings together the floating waste as the WasteShark roams around the harbor, thereby transporting it into an onboard hopper for subsequent removal.
The drone is also being designed to collect data like water quality, depth and weather conditions that can be then conveyed to port authorities in real time. Besides, the onboard software inside will assist it in learning about its environment gradually so that it is capable of regulating its routes for maximum efficiency altering with respect to weather and tides.
Lately, Hardiman’s project was acknowledged by a Dutch accelerator program for port-related technologies. And this is what brought him to The Netherlands. The WasteShark prototypes are of two different sizes and hence are called Fatboy and Slim. These prototypes have been assessed by Richard and his team in the Port of Rotterdam. A pilot project eventually calls for four of the craft to work the port over the next few months.
Richard plans to create a bigger solar-powered version named as Great Waste Shark sooner or later, which is capable of gathering up to 500 kg (1,102 lb) of garbage at a time. In addition to geofencing technology to keep the Great Waste Shark out of particularly busy areas, onboard sensors including camera will also help it to evade collisions with other harbor traffic.
Take a look at the prototypes in action, in the video below: