AAAI Publications, Twenty-Sixth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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The Automated Vacuum Waste Collection Optimization Problem
Ramón Béjar, César Fernández, Carles Mateu, Felip Manyà, Francina Sole-Mauri, David Vidal

Last modified: 2012-07-12


One of the most challenging problems on modern urban planning and one of the goals to be solved for smart city design is that of urban waste disposal. Given urban population growth, and that the amount of waste generated by each of us citizens is also growing, the total amount of waste to be collected and treated is growing dramatically (EPA 2011), becoming one sensitive issue for local governments. A modern technique for waste collection that is steadily being adopted is automated vacuum waste collection. This technology uses air suction on a closed network of underground pipes to move waste from the collection points to the processing station, reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as inconveniences to citizens (odors, noise, . . . ) and allowing better waste reuse and recycling. This technique is open to optimize energy consumption because moving huge amounts of waste by air impulsion requires a lot of electric power. The described problem challenge here is, precisely, that of organizing and scheduling waste collection to minimize the amount of energy per ton of collected waste in such a system via the use of Artificial Intelligence techniques. This kind of problems are an inviting opportunity to showcase the possibilities that AI for Computational Sustainability offers.

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