CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Technology is proving to be a way to help clean up the country’s waterways, and water cleaning robots are at the forefront of those efforts.
Robots are being built at The University of Cincinnati, inside the UC Ground Floor Makerspace where Clean Earth Rover is in the process of building water cleaning robots.
"This here is an autonomous platform, it can drive itself, it can operate itself,” said Clean Earth Rover CTO, Robert Charvat. "It just simply Pac-Man‘s and finds a piece of debris and goes for the next."
Not only can it clean marinas, lakes and oceans, but it also can test water quality. The rover is using cutting edge technology and solving big water pollution problems.
"It’s really unmanned aircraft technology that we’ve taken off the drone and put on a boat, it works very much the exact same way,” said Charvat.
One rover is back in town after spending time in Florida to help cleanup efforts after Hurricane Ian.
"Places where it’s not safe to put a human, we can put the robot in there instead,” said Charvat.
Whether it's cleaning debris, algae bloom and oil spills, the rovers are extremely versatile. It uses attachments to bag up garbage and soaks up chemicals with oil socks. The rover has been to California, Indiana and Florida for cleanups.
"What we can do in four hours would take them three days,” said Charvat.
Most of the testing is done locally at marinas along the Ohio River. While there's plenty of pollution and debris in the river, it's unclear if the rover will be used to clean the river in the future.
"It’s been discussed. The Ohio River does have many challenges, but there’s no limitation from a power standpoint how much garbage we can collect or where we can go. It’s more limited to what the practical nature of where the debris is,” said Charvat.
The rover is so effective and in high demand that B&B Services, a company based in Naples, Florida put in an order for 20 of them.
“It creates a priceless situation," said Charvat. "It's really that ability to make someone's life better."
Clean Earth Rovers take about two to three weeks to build. 90% of the work is done at UC’s Ground Floor Makerspace