Behind the Project

We, the Autonomous River Cleanup (ARC), are a student project from the Robotic Systems Lab at the ETH Zurich. In 2020, we started our work by tackling plastic waste in rivers and continuously expanded to new fields. Our goal is to reduce waste disposal in nature and improve recyclability with the help of robotics and machine learning. We work closely with our industrial partners and several European universities. Our team mainly consists of volunteers and researchers. More than thirty students from various universities have completed their thesis with us.

Our Mission

We develop technology to create a positive environmental impact and to train the next generation of leaders for sustainable development.
We achieve this by incorporating state-of-the-art sensing, AI, and robotics into the process to unlock the value of waste. We seek to provide accurate estimates of pollution in nature to encourage policymakers and industry leaders to take action against pollution.

June 2021

Sorting waste on the Limmat with LIVIA, our first full-scale prototype.

August 2022

Showcasing the improved sorting stage on robotic fairs and conferences.

October 2022

Deployment of the ARCAM at the Kornhausbrücke to monitor riverine waste.

April 2023

Deployment of MARC at the EWZ power plant Letten for waste sorting.

  • Demonstration of our Sorting Stage Prototype at the Automatica 2022

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  • Deployment of the
    at the Kornhausbrücke in Zürich

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  • Field testing with our Analysis Stage at the Schneider recycling center

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  • Deployment of
    MARC, our Sorting Container at the EWZ power plant Letten

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  • Field Testing of our Sorting Stage Prototype on the Limmat River in 2021

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