By Esan Swan
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The WasteShard by RanMarine not only collects floating waste but also filters waters and collects water quaity data. So far ut has operated in Dubai, South Africa and The Netherlands
A shark prowling the coastline is normally a worrying sight, but this waterborne drone terrorizes floating trash instead of people.
Developed by Dutch company RanMarine, the WasteShark takes nature as its inspiration with its whale shark-like mouth. But instead of vacuuming up krill, this device collects waste. Conceived in 2016, the marine drone will begin operations in Dubai Marina in November after a year of trials with local partner Ecocoast.
According to RanMarine, the WasteShark is available in both autonomous and remote-controlled models. Measuring just over five feet by three-and-a-half feet (1.5 meters by 1.1 meter), it can carry up to 352 lbs of trash (159.6 kg) and has an operational battery life of 16 hours.
As of 2016 there were approximately 150 million metric tons of plastic in the world's oceans, per a report by the World Economic Forum. One widely cited paper from December 2014 estimated that over a quarter of a million tons of ocean plastic pollution was afloat.
WasteShark also has the capabilities to gather air and water quality data, filter chemicals out of the water such as oil, arsenic, and heavy metals through filtering pads, and scan the seabed to read its depth and contours, said Oliver Cunningham, one of the co-founders of RanMarine.
Fitted with a collision-avoidance system, the drone uses laser imaging detection and ranging technology to detect an object in its path and stop or back up if the object approaches, he added.
"Our drones are designed to move through (a) water system, whether it's around the perimeter or through the city itself. The drones (are) that last line of defense between the city and the open ocean," said Cunningham.
The trash collected is intended to be recycled or upcycled, according to Ecocoast co-founder Dana Liparts.
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