It’s a moving garbage bin that comes after you instead of the other way around. Meet Robot Urby, an autonomous waste robot, which can be best described as a crossing of ‘Holle Bolle Gijs’ from the Efteling theme park and the robot movie hero WALL-E. Urby will in the nearby future urge people in The Hague to throw their waste in trash cans.

“Make me happy, throw your garbage in me”, Urby says. As a reward, its eyes change into hearts when you give him the rest of your hamburger or chewing gum.

"Make me happy, throw your garbage in me"

Urby is developed by 23 students from a number of schools in the region, among which The Hague University of Applied Sciences, ID College, Zadkine and ROC Mondriaan. They received technical support from Accenda and built the machine in the Delft-based BetaFactory.

The robot was developed on request of the municipality of The Hague. With the project, the city wants to raise awareness for the problem with trash lying around on the streets. By addressing them in a direct way, people will be more inclined to use a garbage bin instead of just throwing waste on the streets.

The city won’t be full with Urby’s roaming the streets. It will be deployed during busy days or during festivals. “It catches the eye”, Martin Seiffers from Accenda tells the newspaper AD. “It’s a reminder for the public to think about the waste problem.”

“It’s a reminder for the public to think about the waste problem.”

The design of Urby is in its final phase, tells mechatronics student Jagga. He works on the sensors. “Once on the streets, you want Urby to go to people, but he has to be aware of the dangers as well, such as cyclists”, he says. Jagger is a former administrative assistant who quit his job to go back to school. He is excited about working on machines. “I like to solve problems. Technology has the future.”