Meet ‘Oscar,’ the garbage sorting bot using artificial intelligence at YVR

RIchmond News

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Whether it’s in a mall, office or airport, standing in front of a collection of waste bins and trying to decipher which one an empty coffee cup should go in can end up being an oddly frustrating task.

Vancouver International Airport is hoping to eliminate any confusion, however, with the use of its new artificial intelligence enabled waste bin that helps visitors sort their trash.

Known as Oscar, the smart bin has a 32-inch screen and an AI powered camera that identifies recycling from trash. It then tells users which exact bin it belongs in.

“At YVR, we strive to be a leader in environmental management. Understanding that our passengers come from around the world with different waste sorting systems, one of the challenges we face is ensuring waste is correctly sorted at waste bins located throughout the terminal. As such, we’re constantly looking at creative approaches to waste management,” said Shaye Folk-Blagbrough, senior environmental specialist, Vancouver Airport Authority.

To bring this program to YVR, the airport has partnered with Intuitive AI, a Vancouver-based technology company. YVR is the first airport to use this technology and currently has three smart bins.

“We’re thrilled to work with Intuitive AI and welcome Oscar to YVR. In a short amount of time, we’ve seen the positive impact Oscar has had on our waste diversion program at YVR,” Blagbrough said.

“Aiding our passengers with waste sorting through artificial intelligence is an innovative way of improving the airport’s environmental footprint through technology.”

YVR has made an ongoing effort to reduce its footprint and says, in 2018, the airport recycled and composted just over half of its waste.

“At Intuitive AI, our vision is to empower a zero waste world and we’re starting right at the source with Oscar,” said Hassan Murad, CEO at Intuitive AI.

“We couldn’t think of a more innovative place than YVR. The airport has provided Oscar with an opportunity to constantly improve itself and nudge hundreds of travellers into diverting waste away from landfills every single day.”