Commercial Robotics

Robotic Garbage Trucks in Saco, Maine

Posted 8 Jan 2003 at 17:41 UTC by steve Share This

The city of Saco, Maine is following the lead of other cities in the US and switching to an automated trash collection system. Residents use special trash bins and a manned garbage truck with a robotic arm collects the bins from the curbside. The local news website has a short article on robotic trucks but you can find a lot more information and photos on the Saco Public Works Website.


Garland's got 'em, too., posted 8 Jan 2003 at 22:26 UTC by jeffkoenig » (Master)

Garland, Texas has had these for quite a while - maybe a couple of years.

They work very well. Everyone gets a huge green garbage bin, on wheels and with a lid. You don't need plastic garbage bags.

Every week, the truck comes by. It's got a gigantic hydraulic arm on its side, which lifts the bin waaaaaaaaaaaay up into the air, then dumps the contents into the back of the truck.

The first week they used them, I actually went out to watch the thing. Maybe I need to set my standards for fun higher, but I thought it was pretty cool.

At first, they had a spotter walking alongside the truck to assist the guy inside, who works the arm.

Any surplus arms?, posted 9 Jan 2003 at 00:01 UTC by steve » (Master)

Sounds like some surplus garbage truck arms would make a fun toys. I can just see one of those opening the fridge and trying to grab a beer can...

Neat, aren't they?, posted 9 Jan 2003 at 00:18 UTC by upper » (Observer)

Corvallis, Oregon has had these since at least 1996. But I still stop to watch them sometimes, especially if my 3-year-old son is along.

The degree of automation varies than you might think. The trucks have an extra set of arm controls on the outside, and I once saw a driver climb out and manually position each can so the arm could get it -- I presume it needed adjustment. On the other hand, there are situations in which they need to get garbage from standard round plastic can. Some drivers can make the arm squeeze the can just enough that the lid pops off so they can dump the can without getting out of the truck.

Oregon robotics, posted 10 Jan 2003 at 16:03 UTC by robodave » (Journeyer)

Hey Dan, since you didn't place an email address in your account here, this is the only method I have to reply to your request for a robotics club in your area. Up the road a bit, about 85 miles is the Portland Robotics club, seen at PARTS if you are interested. To the south about 182 miles is the Southern Oregon Robotics at SORC in Grants Pass. Further north is the Seattle Robotics Society, further south is the San Francisco Robotics Society. One person at SORC makes a monthly 250 mile trip to Portland to attend their meetings, and also travels to San Fran occasionally. HTH

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