Re ECF Project: ECF 2017-70

Project Title: Construction waste sorting and recycling robot

Applicant: Professor LI Heng, Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Total Approved Grant: $1,987,360

Duration: 1/2/2018 to 31/1/2021

Project Status/Remarks: On-going

Construction waste management is crucial for the sustainable development of Hong Kong. Currently sorting and recycling of construction waste is done manually, which is costly and inefficient. This project aims to design and develop a robot for automatic construction waste sorting and recycling to improve the efficiency and cut down manpower costs. Akin to a domestic cleaning robot, the construction waste robot will search through a construction site after working hours, to collect, sort out and place recyclable construction wastes into designated bins for further processing. The robot shall be able to go back to its original location for recharging battery if needed. This project aims to develop a computer-vision based system that could identify recyclable wastes, in this stage of study, only scrub bricks, waste paper, and residual wood blocks will be collected and sorted. The project will adopt the Light Detection and Ranging technology for the robot to move autonomously. A coverage path planning algorithm will be developed for the robot to avoid obstacles and plan its optimal path to maximize its coverage of the construction site. Experiments both in the laboratory and on real construction sites will be conducted to test the feasibility and efficiency of the proposed robot. This project could potentially help improve the efficiency of construction waste management by introducing automatic waste sorting and recycling method and benefit the Hong Kong environment in the long term.

Summary of the Findings/Outcomes:
To be available upon completion of the project