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The Beach Bot: Autonomous garbage collector for the beach

It's not just the seas that are becoming more and more closed, but also the beaches. The Beach Bot from a Dutch developer team aims to change that.

After global holiday activities had been on the back burner for a long time due to the corona pandemic, the beaches are now becoming more populated again. A well-known problem shows up directly: garbage. There are not only too large quantities of it in the seas themselves, but also on the beaches. A Dutch team is currently developing a solution for the latter. "The Beach Bot" is an autonomous beach vehicle that searches for and collects garbage.

Artificial intelligence is needed for the Beach Bot to know what is garbage and what is not. Through machine, photo-based learning, the robot is able over time to distinguish garbage from shells or the like - and only collect the former and leave the latter. In addition, he gradually acquires other types of waste, so that after cigarette butts he can later remove ice cream packs or sunscreen bottles that have been left behind. Incidentally, in the future, several beach bots should be able to be networked with each other so that one can learn from the other garbage collector via the cloud.

Autonomous and electric across the beach

The Beach Bot moves autonomously and electrically across the beach, and according to the developers, one of the biggest challenges was protecting the moving elements from sand and rust. For this reason, they are usually protected with bellows and/or extensively lubricated. The grabs are also driven by electric motors attached to the frame, independently of each other. This allows the garbage collector to pick up objects that are roughly the size of a 0.5 liter PET bottle.

In order to keep the weight low (the developers, who have come together in a technical community in The Hague, call a mass of 1.5 kilograms), most of the parts come from the 3D printer. In addition, the Beach Bot is largely modular so that individual parts can be easily changed.

Interaction with beach visitors

However, the Beach Bot should not be the only solution to the garbage problem on the beaches; For the Dutch, this is still the person himself. The vehicle is intended to raise awareness of the issue or to create a guilty conscience. That's why the collection basket has an open design so that beachgoers can see how much of their legacies need to be cleared away. A screen on the fuselage also provides information about this. In addition, the Beach Bot addresses people directly, with phrases like: "Pick up your garbage and don't make a mess!" Holidaymakers are also in demand for machine learning: as part of a smartphone game app that can be used to teach the beach bot what is garbage and what is not.


On the one hand, it's a pity that inventions like the beach bot are even necessary. On the other hand, it is all the more commendable that there are people who are looking for solutions to such problems. It will be interesting to see whether the Dutch will eventually be able to put their autonomous garbage collector into series production.


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