XI'AN -- A group of Chinese students in Northwest China's Shaanxi province have built a remote-controlled unmanned vessel to collect garbage from water.
Powered by electric propellers, the cleaning boat can move forward or backward and make turns following instructions from a remote control or a mobile application.
The vessel measures 1.6 meters in length, 1.3 meters in width and 0.9 meters in height and features two half-meter-long arms on its front.
When it sails forward, garbage gathered by the arms can be easily collected by a cage inside the boat.
"The boat can collect up to 25 kilos of garbage and is about three times as efficient as a human cleaner," said Zhu Jiannan, leader of the invention, who is pursuing a PhD at Northwestern Polytechnical University in Shaanxi's capital city Xi'an.
"It takes about four hours to fully charge the boat, while it can operate continuously for up to eight hours," Zhu said.
He added that the vessel can automatically avoid obstacles with its ultrasonic radar system.
The cleaning boat has attracted buyers from home and abroad and has been deployed in inland lakes and rivers in a number of Chinese cities such as Xi'an and east China's city of Ningbo to improve water environment, according to Zhu, who has founded a tech company focusing on producing the boat.
He said besides garbage collection, the boat can be equipped with other intelligent hardware to help monitor water quality and identify sources of pollution.