Drones Are Now Cleaning Up Ocean Trash

Anna Green
Richard Hardiman, YouTube
Richard Hardiman, YouTube / Richard Hardiman, YouTube

The Waste Shark is like a Roomba for the ocean. A small aquatic drone that can vacuum up 1100 pounds of floating trash, the Waste Shark was designed by Richard Hardiman of RanMarine to keep the Earth’s oceans clean. Now, Popular Science reports, it’s embarking on its first official mission: To pick up trash in the waters around Rotterdam before it travels too far out to sea.

Hardiman is providing the Port of Rotterdam Authority in the Netherlands with four Waste Shark prototypes, which will patrol Rotterdam’s waters through the end of the year. The sharks, which are approximately the size of a passenger car, pick up trash in a 14-inch "mouth" that extends below the surface of the water. They're autonomous, which means they're able to patrol for trash 24/7 without oversight.

Hardiman hopes that the Waste Sharks could eventually help make ocean trash a thing of the past. In a statement he explained, "It may sound like a strange thing to say for an entrepreneur, but my mission will only truly be accomplished when I’m 'out of business.'"

[h/t Popular Science]