What is a Litter Drone?

Litter Drone carrying bottleThe concept was inspired while driving in early spring. Melting snow revealed plastic bags, bottles, wrappers, and other debris built up over winter.

Cleanup crews would get to it – eventually. But there was so much area to cover, and once done it would only be a matter of time before trash returned.

But what if you didn’t need a crew to cover that area on foot?

What if you had a machine that didn’t even have to touch ground until it picked up trash? Just one worker driving a mobile base whiles drones fly alongside scanning for litter. An area that would take hours to cover on foot could be cleared by drones in minutes.

And if drones could clean the side of a road, why couldn’t they clean up parks? Golf courses? Stadiums and concert venues? Or anywhere?

Wherever there are people, there is litter. Wherever there are Litter Drones, there will be no litter.

How will they operate?

Litter Drones will fly at low level to identify items, pick them up, then deposit trash or recycling in corresponding containers. Drones then return to base stations to recharge when done.

Deployment scenarios:

  • Permanent – Parks, golf courses, beaches, or other venues needing regular attention. Drones automatically deploy from a fixed base during off hours.
  • Temporary – Concerts and festivals. Drones can be brought in when special events are held.
  • Mobile – Along roads and highways. Base stations mounted on trucks or service vehicles enable drones to cover large areas quickly.

Is there really a need?

There are 3,980,817 miles of road in the United States alone. Over 15,000 golf courses. Thousands of public and private parks, stadiums, shopping centers and office parks.

Workers to cover those areas are expensive. Not just salaries – but taxes, benefits and worker’s compensation claims, too.

Using drones to reduce labor costs means areas can be cleaned more often. And drones don’t take breaks or sick days.

A stretch of freeway that might get attention two or three times a year can be cleaned up monthly or weekly. A public park or golf course can have drones deployed daily, letting employees concentrate on other duties. Festivals and stadiums can work with Litter Drone equipped contractors, saving the time and expense of recruiting workers to cover an event.

Can it really be done?

Most of the technologies already exist in various forms – but must be adapted, combined, and refined. That requires time and money.

If you want to make the world a cleaner place – or just like supporting cutting edge technology – visit the Litter Drone crowdfunding page and pitch in.