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TrashBot uses AI to sort recyclables – londonbusinessblog.com

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There are a number of startups working to improve waste sorting with robots. Near the top of the list, AMP Robotics pairs a picker and a conveyor to sort materials in large, automated facilities. The technology aims to correct human shortcomings in recycling. All too often people don’t bother segregating waste, or just don’t understand where things are going.

Founded in 2015, CleanRobotics hopes to correct the problem at the point of removal. The Colorado company’s flagship trashbot system uses machine learning and onboard robotic systems to sort materials from a single waste point. It claims the machines can do this with about 90% accuracy – not perfect, but definitely better than what people generally do.

“Recycling rules are confusing and consumers are often so confused that their recycling accuracy is less than chance, leading to highly contaminated recyclables, which no one buys,” CEO Charles Yhap said in a press release. “Our system improves material diversion from landfills, resulting in more recyclable materials and less waste.”

Given the built-in AI/ML, the waste sorting robot naturally collects data to help improve the sorting process. CleanRobotics notes: “The trash can of the future doesn’t stop there, it also generates high-quality data for waste audits, activates fullness alerts and has a large display for video content. And with cloud connectivity, your TrashBot fleet will only get smarter over time.”

It is easy to imagine other trade related data being used, based on the specific waste the system collects.

This week, the company announced a $4.5 million Series A led by Melco International Development Limited and featuring SOSV/HAX, Undivided VC and Longmont Evergreen Opportunity Fund. Funding will go towards CleanRobotics’ plans to produce “hundreds” of systems, in addition to those already installed in high-traffic areas such as shopping malls and airports.

The company says it is particularly looking at partnerships in China, Australia and Singapore. Funding will also go towards recruiting additional staff, improving production and ramping up research and development.

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