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The City of Detroit, Michigan Deploys BeBot Robots to Clean Belle Isle Beach


Remote-controlled BeBot robots are slated to help clean up Belle Isle Beach in Detroit, Michigan. The effort to use robots to pick up trash and plastic buried at the beach is a decision made alongside the City of Detroit, the Belle Isle Conservancy, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the Council of the Great Lakes Region Foundation.

The BeBot robots are said to weigh nearly 1,300 pounds and are developed by French coastal waste management company, Searial Cleaners. The robots are electric and solar-powered and are capable of covering up to 32,000 square feet per hour. This is especially useful for picking up trash in Belle Isle Beach where nearly 9,000 pounds of trash was collected in 2023.

To make sure that the BeBot robots are capable of taking on the task, a demo was done on Earth Day in April. During said demo, BeBot robots picked up cigarette buts, plastic water bottle caps, and even beach toys, said Genevieve Rattray, Director of Sustainability and Advocacy for the Belle Isle Conservancy.

The City of Detroit, Michigan Deploys BeBot Robots to Clean Belle Isle Beach

“This robot allows us to take our cleanup efforts a little bit deeper, literally a little bit deeper, and really remove a lot of that plastic pollution and litter pollution that is buried and impacting our environment as a result,” said Rattray.

While BeBot robots are indeed impressive and are capable of picking up trash from the smallest pieces of plastic from bottles to cigarette butts, Konner Pertz (the mobility strategist for the City of Detroit) stresses how important it is still for the community to help in keeping the beach clean.

“Even though we have this amazing technology that can dredge into the sand and operate it at very fast speeds with picking up litter, I think that the human element is still very important and the communal element is still very important,”, said Pertz.

The City of Detroit, Michigan Deploys BeBot Robots to Clean Belle Isle Beach

With that, the BeBot’s first community cleanup event on Belle Isle will happen on June 8 during World Ocean Day. As per the city, these community cleanups in collaboration with BeBot robots will take place as needed through September.

Certainly, this is another job robots can help humans with aside from the other tasks we have previously listed. This is also proof of how humans can co-exist harmoniously with robots to improve our way of living.

Linda Takahashi

American-born New Yorker Linda Johnson has been fascinated with robotic machines since she was a teenager, when her father, a surgeon, would introduce to her the machines that he used to perform keyhole surgeries. This interest led her to pursue a tech degree at the University of Washington, where she met Sota Takahashi. They married and now have two children. Linda’s father developed dementia later on and was given a robot pet as a companion. She saw how much having a robot pet friend helped her father, which is what led her to create this website and advocate to spread word about robot pets and how they can help both children and the elderly.

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