French students have invented a robot-turtle that hunts plastic and eats it

Students from Estaca, an engineering school in Laval, presented their plans to tackle the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans. Green Turtle is a robot turtle designed to patrol harbors and swallow plastic waste.

Marine pollution is a serious problem, with islands of plastic trash  forming in the oceans. A group of students from Estaca , the Higher School of Aeronautical Techniques and Automobile Construction , decided to tackle it by creating a robot-turtle that scours the water in ports and swallows plastic . They named their project  Green Turtle (the green turtle ).

The students chose to take inspiration from the turtle in order to be able to implant it in the ports where much of the human pollution comes from. This marine animal is very agile in the water, and can also tread water, which allows it to track waste and avoid boats. In addition, the absence of turtle predators prevents the presence of the robot from disturbing the local fauna .

Waste identification thanks to the lidar

The robot relies on acoustic waves to identify its environment and the various obstacles, thanks to a sonar system . To determine the shape and nature of the plastic objects encountered, the students opted for lidar , a system similar to sonar but which uses light . Green Turtle is able to recover up to 50 liters of waste, the equivalent of 1,420 plastic bottles. Once his reserve is full, he returns to a docking station to dump everything and recharge his batteries, before resuming his swim.

Originally scheduled for launch in September 2020, the project has experienced delays due to the pandemic . Students are hoping for a functional model for the summer of 2021. For more information, see their Facebook page .