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Rotterdam Deploys Aquatic Drones to Clean Trash in Waterway

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The Port of Rotterdam Authority is sponsoring a fleet of trash-eating aquatic drones to clean Europe’s busiest waterway. Dubbed “Waste Sharks,” the drones are made by RanMarine, a tech startup that introduced the idea during an accelerator program for port innovators in Rotterdam. RanMarine signed a pilot contract with the Port of Rotterdam to see how much trash these Waste Sharks can pull from the water in six months.

Each Shark (there are four of them) is the size of a car, and can collect up to 1102 pounds of garbage in its mouth, which extends a foot below the water’s surface. It also records research diagnostics such as weather conditions and water depth and quality. The Sharks can also be deployed 24 hours a day; RanMarine CEO Richard Hardiman calls this model “[the] Wall-E of water.”

RanMarine’s Waste Sharks are part of the Port Waste Catch, a greater cleanup effort by the Port Authority of Rotterdam that hopes to get other private companies interested in cleaning up the port’s waterways. Learn more about the bots here, Scroll below for a short video from RanMarine about a three-day live test of their garbage collecting drone.