CSIRO to end plastic waste with AI and machine learning

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has entered a partnership with Microsoft, Chemistry Australia and Hobart City Council in an effort to address Australia’s plastic waste problem with the help of artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Denise Hardesty, senior principal research scientist at CSIRO, explained that the goal is to apply technology to the entire plastics supply chain so that rubbish will not end up polluting the environment.

She believes that rethinking plastic packaging is just one of the ways to approach the problem, but there are other alternatives, such as transforming the process of manufacturing and using plastics.

This is why Microsoft and CSIRO have agreed to work on applying camera sensor technologies that will collect the data necessary to prevent rubbish from flowing into storm drains.

According to Lee Hickin, CTO at Microsoft Australia, Microsoft AI image recognition will be put to good use when it comes to the classification and detection of rubbish in the country’s waterways.

After deployment, it will be possible to detect it more quickly and react accordingly.

In addition, CSIRO and Hobart City Council are going to be working on developing an autonomous sensor network that provides real-time reporting on the amount of rubbish that finds its way into storm drains.

The objective is to avoid the release of pollutants, improve safety and reduce environmental harm.

Finally, Chemistry Australia is going to help the nation understand how to use, reuse and recycle plastic products with sustainability in mind.

Aside from its mission to end plastic pollution, CSIRO is also dedicating its scientific and technological efforts to help in the fight against COVID-19.

CSIRO is willing to commit in excess of AU$100m annually to further the organisation’s cause and execute the missions outlined in its plan.