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UNICORN - Sustainable, Peaceful and Efficient Robotic Refuse Handling

Reference number
Coordinator Chalmers Tekniska Högskola AB - Institutionen för Elektroteknik
Funding from Vinnova SEK 8 650 000
Project duration October 2017 - May 2021
Status Completed
Venture Transport Efficiency
End-of-project report 2017-03055eng.pdf (pdf, 1872 kB)

Important results from the project

Swedish households do not recycle refuse as much as they could. One reason for households not sorting and recycling as much refuse as would be possible is the manual effort this would require. This project has developed an automatic refuse collection and sorting system which minimizes the effort from the households. This has been implemented as a system of small autonomous robots that continuosly collect refuse from smart household refuse bins and transfer it to an, in the neighbourhood, centralized large sorting station which in turn is emptied by refuse collection trucks on demand.

Expected long term effects

The UNICORN project has resulted in a future system for refuse handling. Autonomous robots have been developed to handle refuse from households both from bins and on request directly from residents. A solution to be able to autonomously lift and empty the large bins has been developed. Legal aspects have been investigated to be able to carry out large-scale tests. Expected effects of the developed system during an implementation are a higher degree of recycling of refuse from our households as well as less heavy traffic in our residential areas and better service for the residents.

Approach and implementation

The project was divided into several work packages. One work package focused on developing the small autonomous robots that continuously collect refuse. A second work package focused on developing the smart containers as well as the autonomous solution for controlling a crane that will lift refuse in the truck. A third work package focused on developing the control system that will control and coordinate all involved systems that are part of the UNICORN system. Connections and requirements between the various work packages were handled continuously through joint project reviews.

The project description has been provided by the project members themselves and the text has not been looked at by our editors.

Last updated 5 July 2022

Reference number 2017-03055

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