Climate Robots Get To Work
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing a key role in helping to combat climate change. Here's a look at three of the most exciting developments in the environmental robotic solutions world that are helping to improve sustainability and cut carbon emissions.
Researchers at the Bristol Robotic Laboratory (BRL) at the University of Bristol used biomimicry to invent the Row-bot, taking inspiration from water beetles for their robot that digests pollution in dirty water and turns it into energy to power itself. Its inventor, PhD student Hemma Philamore, believes the Row-bot will be an excellent tool in environmental clean-up projects such as oil spills and algae blooms. PhD supervisor Jonathan Rossiter, who worked on the project, reveals more in this TED Talk.
Down under, Australian company Skygrow has invented the GrowBot. This is a robot that plants trees ten times faster than us humans do, and at half the cost. By planting young, established saplings rather than seeds, the inventors say their technology also increases the survivability of new trees.
Skygrow also carries out site assessments to identify which trees species would be the best for the land in which they'll be planted, and monitors the trees once they're in the ground to ensure they thrive.
Deforestation is happening at a rapid pace and manual replanting is unable to keep pace with the rate at which trees are being removed. So Skygrow says the GrowBot can help the planet rebalance the impact of deforestation much faster.
Another Australian invention, this time from the Queensland University of Technology, the LarvalBot is helping to bring dead coral reefs back to life. Australian reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef, have suffered two more devastating bleaching incidents recently but the LlarvalBot is helping to restore them.
This semi-autonomous robot takes reef larvae reared in a laboratory and distributes them in clouds on the damaged areas of reefs. The larvae seed themselves in the bleached coral and start to regrow. Find out how in this video.
Professor Matthew Dunabin is the leader of the project and says that helping the reef in this way gives a much better chance of the coral regrowing and the reef returning to health than previous restoration methods used.
Clean water, clean air and the rebalancing of delicate ecosystems is going to be key in helping limit further global warming, so these three robots are an important step in the right direction.