Garbage Can Takes Itself Out

Home automation is a fine goal but typically remains confined to lights, blinds, and other things that are relatively stationary and/or electrical in nature. There is a challenge there to be certain, but to really step up your home automation game you’ll need to think outside the box. This automated garbage can that can take itself out, for example, has all the home automation street cred you’d ever need.

The garbage can moves itself by means of a scooter wheel which has a hub motor inside and is powered by a lithium battery, but the real genius of this project is the electronics controlling everything. A Raspberry Pi Zero W is at the center of the build which controls the motor via a driver board and also receives instructions on when to wheel the garbage can out to the curb from an Nvidia Jetson board. That board is needed because the creator, [Ahad Cove], didn’t want to be bothered to tell his garbage can to take itself out or even schedule it. He instead used machine learning to detect when the garbage truck was headed down the street and instruct the garbage can to roll itself out then.

The only other thing to tie this build together was to get the garage door to open automatically for the garbage can. Luckily, [Ahad]’s garage door opener was already equipped with WiFi and had an available app, unbeknownst to him, which made this a surprisingly easy part of the build. If you have a more rudimentary garage door opener, though, there are plenty of options available to get it on the internets.

11 thoughts on “Garbage Can Takes Itself Out

  1. This is an awesome project! I predict many more useful vision projects like this.

    Debugging will be hilarious because he didn’t want to wake up early to put out the trash. But, instead, lie awake thinking….What if a car parks in my driveway, or a neighbor walking a baby carriage gets chased by my dumpster which caught on fire due to a lipo failure. (I lie awake thinking of failure cases of things that could go wrong.)

    Then, after a full night’s dreaming of test cases, you wake at every car driving down the street because you want to see if it works, and if not, what went wrong! :-)

    Ah the life of a dedicated inventor! It’s a great life!

  2. That’s cool, but round here the bins are property of the council, and we’d get fined for damaging them.

    Also the image recognition approach would fail for us as the rubbish truck comes twice a week, once for the houses, and once for the flats (which in the council’s wisdom have been given bigger bins which aren’t compatible with the other bins on the road).

    To make it worse, they alternate landfill and recycling collection, so each bin only goes once a fortnight (and yes, that smells as bad an idea as it sounds). So I’d spend more time bringing the wrong bin back than it saved.

    And their website requires a login to see the bins schedule.

    Yay for our wannabe-socialist local council.

    1. Ehm. Have you watched the video? He specifically says that there are state/municipal/whatever issued bins and he would be fined for damaging them (SAME AS YOUR CASE) but that specific one in the video is his own property.

    2. I’ve put some thought (but no action) into a self driving trash can…

      I think a “tractor” to tow it to the curb, and return it to it’s spot by my house, would be the way to go, maybe a tilt sensor taped on the can itself with a simple radio transmitter, so it can call for the tractor to come pick it up after it has been emptied.

      Schedule makes a lot more sense to me for putting the cans out, as oppose to a whole machine learning setup…

      With that sort of lay out I could do trash every week the night before trash day, and recycling every other week, and one unit would pull both cans down to the curb.

      I envision something like a electric skate board with an arm on the back that can clamp onto the handle on the front of the bin, lift it to be on it’s wheels and then drive it down to the curb, release and return to it’s docking station or what ever until the can calls for a pickup. But again I’ve not actually done anything with this.

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