Customizable river waste analysis and extraction systems


Learn the latest about the ARC Project!
July 16, 2021
Testing on the Limmat to combat plastic in the oceans

This summer, students from ETH Zurich will test various technologies on the Limmat for the automatic removal of waste. The Autonomous River Cleanup project is starting with rivers to tackle the global problem of marine pollution. Millions of tonnes of waste end up in the world’s oceans every year. Plastics account for the largest share, […]

June 23, 2021
ARC Kick-Off Event! Learn about the ARC project testing happening this Summer

Join us at our opening event on July 3rd, 2021 where we will be talking about the ARC project, what what we have done and what comes next. Follow our progress and sign up now using the link below. Register now here!

Who we are

The Autonomous River Cleanup project (ARC) is a student-led initiative at ETH Zurich. The project is supported by the Robotic Systems Lab. We work together with Ecolymer, our industrial partner, and are connected with several universities in Europe. Our team consists of volunteers, bachelor's,  and master’s thesis students. The scientific work is supervised by experienced Ph.D. students and professors at ETH Zurich.

Our Mission

The mission of the Autonomous River Cleanup (ARC) project is to use technology, robotics, and automation, to maximize the impact of plastic removal from rivers. We are developing a system that is able to reduce river-bound plastic waste significantly, acting as a viable solution to the world-wide plastic pollution epidemic. We aim to deploy our first prototype in the Limmat, Zurich in 2021.

Meet the ARC Team

We are 33 and growing!
Get to know the Team!


See our progress and milestones to come. Check our project timeline below!

Our Projects

Our work spans over river waste accumulation, retrieval, sorting and analysis

Waste Accumulation

Accumulating floating waste to a single point for collection is one of the biggest challenges in waste retrieval today. The ARC project is constantly exploring the latest techniques and scientific literature to guide the flow of particles as they move downstream. 

Waste Collection

We are developing the autonomous trash collection vessel. The vessel integrates all subsystems to provide a single and scalable solution to the river pollution problem. Customizable to any river size, this solution aims to tackle river pollution from the root cause. 

AI Powered Waste Analysis and Sorting

We deal with plastic debris recognition, quantification and handling. Once the waste is collected, a great challenge is to understand what to do with it. We provide a robust method for debris quantification which allows for better handling and disposal. We achieve this by the use of state-of-the-art sensing technology combined with custom-built Artificial Intelligence methods.  

Get involved now!

Learn more about our collaboration and sponsoring opportunities.
Contact us!
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