Underwater robot scans seabed to seek out the most harmful pollution

A robot equipped with AI image recognition can identify and map rubbish on the seafloor to help prioritise clean-up operations towards the most toxic materials

Technology



10 August 2022


An underwater robot can autonomously scan large areas of seabed to identify plastic, rubber and metal rubbish using artificial intelligence image recognition. The technology will help focus the limited budgets for clean-up efforts on the most toxic and environmentally damaging materials.

Trygve Olav Fossum and his colleagues at the Norwegian firm Skarv Technologies created a 45-kilogram underwater robot equipped with stereo cameras, while researchers at Ecotone, another firm in Norway, produced a spectrometer that can identify the material an object is made of even through metres of murky water.

The robot scours the seabed at a distance of 2 …

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