Ethical Robotics

BeachBot is an AI-powered robot that picks up cigarette butts

Martijn Lukaart and Edwin Bos, two dutch engineers have created BeachBot to do the opposite of digging for treasure.


In another entry to non-threatening, AI-powered robots enter BeachBot (or BB). This beachside companion identifies cigarette butts with the help of Microsoft’s AI systems, and then promptly disposes of them into a bin, located on its body.


Two Dutch engineers — Martijn Lukaart and Edwin Bos designed BB as a response to our environment. Litter and global pollution wreck havoc on the ocean and its inhabitants so why not target some of the most common forms of waste: cig butts.


4.5 Trillion

The amount of cigarette butts that are improperly disposed of each year


BB essentially works through crowdsourcing. Beach visitors are encouraged to send photos of cig butts to the AI system so that the robotic companion can better understand what to look for.

The pair of Dutch engineers developed BB through their company TechTics and have pointed out that the beach-dwelling robot needs about 2,000 images of cigarette butts in order to maximize its use. So if you have any spare photos of rouge cigs in sand, you can put them to good use!

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