The city of Saco, Maine is following the lead of other cities in the US
and switching to an automated trash collection system. Residents use
special trash bins and a manned garbage truck with a robotic arm
collects the bins from the curbside. The local news website has a short article
on robotic trucks but you can find a lot more information and photos on
Public Works Website.
Garland, Texas has had these for quite a while - maybe a couple of
They work very well. Everyone gets a huge green garbage bin, on wheels
and with a lid. You don't need plastic garbage bags.
Every week, the truck comes by. It's got a gigantic hydraulic arm on
its side, which lifts the bin waaaaaaaaaaaay up into the air, then
dumps the contents into the back of the truck.
The first week they used them, I actually went out to watch the thing.
Maybe I need to set my standards for fun higher, but I thought it was
At first, they had a spotter walking alongside the truck to assist the
guy inside, who works the arm.
Corvallis, Oregon has had these since at least 1996. But I still stop
to watch them sometimes, especially if my 3-year-old son is along.
The degree of automation varies than you might think. The
trucks have an extra set of arm controls on the outside, and I once saw
a driver climb out and manually position each can so the arm could get
it -- I presume it needed adjustment. On the other hand, there are
situations in which they need to get garbage from standard round plastic
can. Some drivers can make the arm squeeze the can just enough that the
lid pops off so they can dump the can without getting out of the truck.
Hey Dan, since you didn't place an email address in your account here,
this is the only method I have to reply to your request for a robotics
club in your area. Up the road a bit, about 85 miles is the Portland
Robotics club, seen at PARTS if you are interested.
To the south about 182 miles is the Southern Oregon Robotics at SORC in Grants Pass. Further north is
the Seattle Robotics Society, further south is the San Francisco
Robotics Society. One person at SORC makes a monthly 250 mile trip to
Portland to attend their meetings, and also travels to San Fran