Illustration: Adrian Wirén, Mälardalens Högskola.

Chalmers develops refuse collection robot

Imagine a robot that quietly and discreetly enters your neighborhood, collects your refuse bin and empties it into the refuse truck. It is done without waking the sleeping families and without heavy lifting for the refuse truck’s driver. This is the purpose of ROAR, a joint project with the aim to develop tomorrow's smart transport solutions.
Chalmers is currently working on a joint venture together with the Volvo Group and Mälardalen University in Sweden, Penn State University in the United States, and the waste recycling company Renova, to develop a robot that interacts with the refuse truck and its driver to accomplish the work.

The project is called ROAR, for Robot-based Autonomous Refuse handling, and the goal is to introduce a robot that, with the help of instructions from a truck’s operating system, can collect refuse bins in a neighborhood, bring them to a refuse truck and empty them. All of this occurs under the supervision of the refuse truck’s driver, who can thereby avoid heavy lifting.

The purpose of ROAR is to demonstrate how we, in the very near future, will use smart machines to assist with a broad range of activities in society. This technology can be applied in many areas.  Refuse collection is just one example.

“Within Volvo Group we foresee a future with more automation,” says Per-Lage Götvall, project leader for the Volvo Group. “This project provides a way to stretch the imagination and test new concepts to shape transport solutions for tomorrow.”

The students have different tasks and roles. Mälardalens University will design the robot itself, and at Penn State´s Thomas D. Larson Pennsylvania Transportation Institute the graphics, communication systems and control panel for the truck driver will be developed.

Petter FalkmanAt Chalmers University, students will work on the overall operating system.
“Chalmers has for many years developed the technology for the control and coordination of autonomous systems,” says Petter Falkman, associate professor, automation, at Chalmers, “and we see that we can deal with problems of the complex type that waste handling entails. This will be a fun and challenging project for our driven researchers and motivated students.”

This work will continue until June 2016, when the technology will be tested on a vehicle developed by Renova.

Full press release from Volvo at:

Illustration: Adrian Wirén, Mälardalens Högskola
Download the illustration from: Volvo Group image gallery


Petter Falkman,
tel:+46 (0)732 46 99 10

Page manager Published: Wed 16 Sep 2015.