We're trialling AI robotics at our facility - Blog

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Tuesday 19th January 2021

We're excited to announce that in a joint bid with leading AI start-up Greyparrot and Middlesex University, we've been awarded £500,000 by Innovate UK to develop an AI driven low-cost robotic solution to detect and recover plastics from mixed waste streams. 

The technology will be installed at our Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) in summer 2021 for trials.

The AI waste recognition software created by Greyparrot will be integrated into a third-party hardware system and will use deep learning technologies to solve complex visual problems to ensure robots can 'see' waste with the same or better accuracy than humans. 

Throughout the trial, we will provide feedback on captured images of plastics, as well as provide the waste data to train the AI vision systems. 

The trials offer the opportunity to help improve plastic recycling figures in the future - which currently sit at just under 60% for plastic bottles and 33% for pots, tubs and trays. 

Characterising plastics using AI computer vision

Bill Swan, Managing Director of Paper Round said: ‘We are excited to be part of these trials. We see many different types of plastics on our MRF and we welcome the opportunity to be able to more efficiently identify and sort these for recycling.’ 

Mikela Druckman, Co-founder & CEO of Greyparrot: "We are thrilled to be working with Paper Round on this innovative project. This grant also opens up collaborative opportunities to embed our waste recognition software with machinery providers to ensure products at the end of life are captured for recycling efficiently." 

Mehmet Karamanoglu, Middlesex University: “We welcome this fantastic opportunity to collaborate with our partners in tackling such an important issue. Being able to use our robotics and AI research expertise that will lead to tangible and practical outcomes is great to see. We are looking forward to helping make a significant contribution in tackling the challenges with rapid plastics identification and recycling.”

Jessica Parrilla

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