Duckweed is considered a nuisance in most Dutch cities with canals, like Delft and Amsterdam. The Kroboot originated from a student project of the University of Technology Delft in cooperation with the Delfland Water Authority. The Kroboot is an autonomous boat able to recognize duckweed with a camera, to analyze its environment and to destroy the duckweed.
Unfortunately, an end has come to this start-up. Due to the lack of time, it was too hard to combine this project with our studies. If you are interested in continuing this project, please contact us.
Why removing duckweed?
An excessive amount of duckweed is a huge problem in Dutch canal cities, like Delft, The Hague and Amsterdam. Nowadays removing the duckweed is very labor-intensive and expensive for municipalities/water authorities. We have the solution: the Kroboot.
Duckweed ensures that sunlight is not able to reach all the animals and plants living under water. Therefore plants are not able to do their photosynthesis and no oxygen will be produced for the animals, so they won’t live any longer. This will result in bad water quality, since the duckweed consumes all nutrients without leaving any for others.
Today’s water authorities and municipalities do not remove the duckweed actively. Because of the growing speed of duckweed – it doubles in three days under optimal circumstances – it looks like an impossible job to have duckweed-free canals.
Another problem of an excessive amount of duckweed is the danger of drowning of dogs and little children, as they see the carpet of duckweed as a field of grass and try to walk on it.
The Kroboot is an autonomous boat and therefore uses a lot of sensors. For example, it uses a LIDAR to analyze its own environment by laser imaging and so it is able to prevent collapsing against the canal walls or other boats. It also uses an Intel RealSense camera to detect duckweed, but also water lilies to prevent damaging these plants. A GSM-sensor is used for the localization of the robot.
Duckweed destroy mechanism
Inside of the Kroboot a destroy mechanism is designed, where duckweed will flow through and will be cut and destroyed by two gears.
Two electrical thrusters powered by six batteries are used for navigation and a duckweed searching algorithm will control these thrusters.
This robot solves the problem by destroying the duckweed in an early stage of growing. In spring the duckweed will rise to the water surface and the Kroboot will be used if only a little amount of duckweed is present. Therefore the Kroboot prevents the duckweed from growing extensively.
A multidisciplinary team of students from the University of Technology Delft
Bas van der Werk