If we can build Garagezilla, we can automate rubbish removal
COLUMBIA, 12/9/11 (Beat Byte) -- Automated trash collection using trucks equipped with robotic arms came to hundreds of communities around the country years ago. I remember rolling out the trash bins for automated pickup in a suburb of Seattle back in the early 90s.

Columbia presently has 21 employees manually grabbing green trash bags that have to be restocked every few weeks and add to landfill waste.  Automated trucks, on the other hand, pick up large plastic bins with wheels that can range from 32 to 96 gallons. Columbia solid waste utility manager Richard Wieman has been advocating the idea, and City Hall did a survey about it in August. 
Trash removal automation saves time, money, and fuel; improves safety; and reduces workers compensation claims.

Though fully-automated trucks aren't cheap, combined local government has spent $75 million on new offices and parking garages since 2006.   Like the old adage about sending a man to the moon, if we can build Garagezilla, we can certainly automate trash collection. 

Here are some examples of automated trash trucks in action:

Some automation systems come with less expensive retrofit options (put the system on an existing truck). It's called "semi-automated collection." Conventional rear loading trucks are retrofitted with a cart lifting device:



  1. Yes, let's add automation and eliminate some more jobs.

  2. These trucks still need operators -- they don't drive around and load trash on their own.


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