A France-based startup called Interactive Autonomous Dynamic Systems (IADYS) is out on a mission to clean water bodies with Jellyfishbots. The robots have a net attached to them that collects waste such as bottles, cans, plastic packaging, cigarette butts, microplastics, paint residues, and hydrocarbons on water surfaces.
IADYS suggests that the ideal places for robots to work effectively are ports, industries, and tourist areas. The startup adoringly calls the Jellyfishbot the “Swiss army knife” of the marine environment. The robots remain half immersed in the water body and can work autonomously or via remote control.
Eating ocean litter with human assistance
Reminiscent of a Roomba, the Jellyfishbot can detect and avoid obstacles, clean within a defined boundary, and identify waste. However, it still requires a human to guide it and carry it back to land. The design and the net may not seem effective to the eye, but the bot has made quite a few sales and is also used in universities to study microplastic.
The Jellyfishbot is a great step forward to the already ongoing marine cleaning and marine life preservation activities. Other robots have been eating trash in the water for a while now, and still, there is much more to ingest. It has been estimated that by 2040, marine litter could nearly triple and become equivalent to 50 kg of plastic waste per meter of the global coastline.
Two Jellyfishbots can also work in “tandem configuration”. They can be attached to a long embryonical cord-like net called a boom or a trawl. A smaller boom of 3m can work with a single bot to collect oil from the water’s surface.
The Jellyfishbot also assists in collecting data. Ericsson featured the innovation as part of its 5G Trailblazers, and here, IADYS shared that they use 5G to send large amounts of data over to their master data server.
However, in the end, it is with human assistance that the litter will eventually be collected from the nets and disposed of. The automation activity with these robots has limitations but is a worthy addition to global marine preservation activities.
YouTube: Jellyfishbot by IADYS – The “swiss army knife” of the water bodies