The area of “feral” (as in: let loose into the wild) and semi-autonomous environmental robotics is fascinating, inspiring, and whimsical. The idea here is to let robots roam free, or work alongside them, for environmental clean-up, monitoring, and data/sample collection.
Our old pal, Erin Kennedy, aka RobotGrrl, has been on a mission to try and accelerate this area of robotic development. Her Robot Missions org seeks to research, develop, and educate with low-cost robotics for environmental applications.
While the project (and the robots) are still in their infancy, the idea is compelling. You can also see in the many school groups she works with and the crowds of people gathered on beaches to watch her robots in action, that Robot Missions is a great way to get young people thinking and developing in this area and to raise awareness among the general public, on the environmental issues involved and how robots might eventually be used in a solution.
Erin’s work with Robot Missions recently got her an audience with Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. Go, Erin!
Here are a few of the videos available on the Robot Missions’ YouTube page.