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EverestLabs Revolutionizes Recycling Efficiency through Robotic Arms and A.I.

August 8th, 2023

Recycling is an intricate process, posing challenges not only for consumers but especially for recycling companies. However, artificial intelligence could hold the key to alleviating these challenges.

Traditionally, the task of sifting through the chaotic mix of waste arriving at recycling facilities has been both challenging and unhygienic. The human eye can only process a limited amount of information in a short span of time, hindering the ability to accurately distinguish items like milk containers from beer cans or detergent jugs—essential to effective recycling.

Enterprises such as AMP Robotics, Machinex, Recycleye, and the California-based startup EverestLabs are harnessing the power of AI and robotics to simplify, accelerate, and enhance the recycling process.

"Because of AI, because of the robotic arms, we have seen plants recover 10, 20, 30% more than what they have been doing previously," stated JD Ambati, CEO of EverestLabs. "They have been losing millions of dollars to the landfill, and because of AI, they were able to identify the value of the losses and deploy robotic arms to capture that."

EverestLabs incorporates 3D depth-sensing cameras onto recycling conveyor lines. These cameras have the ability to identify as many as 200 items within a single frame. In just 12 milliseconds, the AI software processes and recognizes the objects along with their corresponding packaging types.

Ambati explained, "We get data around brands, types of packaging, types of material and how much of that is getting recovered and reused, and how much of that material is being sent to the landfill."

This technological approach significantly enhances the potential for reclaiming recyclable items. This impact is further amplified by robotic arms, which Ambati claims are three to four times more effective at retrieving packaging compared to human efforts. This translates into substantial cost savings for prominent recyclers like SMR.

"Labor is a big challenge in our business, like in lots of the economy," noted Tom Outerbridge, President of SMR. "We can replace some portion of the positions that we would otherwise have to fill with human beings with a robot that can do that in a cost-effective way, that’s obviously good for the business and it’s good for the operation."

Backed by Translink Capital, NEC Orchestrating Future Fund, BGV, Sierra Ventures, Morado Ventures, and Xplorer Capital, EverestLabs has secured $24.6 million in funding to date.

Source: CNBC

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