Last week, the University of San Diego helped us move a step closer to cleaner oceans. Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, University of San Diego, students carried out testing of FRED – a robot that has been designed to clean the oceans of the world.
The testing of FRED was part of an internship program that enables students to assist in the designing of the unmanned semi-autonomous, solar-powered, plastic waste-removing vehicle. According to a University of San Diego post, Zach Sourwine, Cameryn Seymour, Jazmyn Gonzalez, and Desmond Jones tested FRED – Floating Robot to Eliminate Debris.
The semi-autonomous robot is solar-powered, and the test saw it recovering ping-pong balls from Mission Bay, carry out autonomous navigation, and perform long-distance trips. The University of San Diego has released a video of the FRED tests where you can see the students controlling it using an Xbox controller. The team of students worked on FRED during summer via an internship program in collaboration with Clear Blue Sea. Clear Blue Sea is a San Diego based non-profit that is among the list of startups aimed at tackling the amount of plastic in our oceans.
Sourwine is a mechanical engineering student and while speaking about the impact of the project on him, says in the San Diego Uni post, ‘I hope to do something with sustainability engineering in the future. I think this really sparked a passion for it.’ Now that this group of students is done with its internship, the project will be handed over to new students who will continue developing the work carried out by this group.
Cleaning our oceans is not an easy task, and such new developments are a welcome sight. However, many are now talking about attacking the problem at its source rather than dealing with it once it has entered the sea. Having said that, there is quite a lot of plastic in the ocean that has to be cleaned, and such projects are bringing us closer to that reality. Go FRED!