Drones are proving to be a critical tool for environmentalists. Now, a city in the U.K. is utilizing the sophisticated technology of Ellipsis Earth to address the problem of trash with drones.
Local city government is partnering with environmental non-profit Hubbub and startup Ellipsis Earth to use drone data and AI-powered analytics to make decisions on where to place trash cans, how to set street cleaning schedules, and educate communities about litter.
Ellipsis Earth began to capture data over beaches, parks, shopping streets and green space last month, using lightweight COTS drones. The Ellipsis Earth platform is an elegant solution to an inelegant problem. The software analyzes aerial imagery, identifying plastics and further identifying the type of waste: differentiating between plastic bottles, fishing nets, bottle caps and toothbrushes to inform cleanup strategies.
The project has proven results: in Sorrento, Italy, authorities say that they were able to use the data to institute strategies that have reduced trash “by 45 percent and cigarette butt waste by 69 percent,” says report.