AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – A pilot program using artificial intelligence-driven robots has launched at UMass Amherst, to sort recycled items from trash.

The current pilot, AuditPRO, which stands for pilot readiness optimization, is on the Lincoln Campus Center concourse. It was developed by rStream, a robotics company founded by two UMass Amherst engineering graduates, Ethan Walko and Ian Goodine. It’s the first step in the UMass Dining Services plan, to incorporate AI-driven robots into their waste-sorting process.

These robots are designed to sort recycling from trash, in order to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills.

“Right now the information it is collecting is being aggregated in certain ports about the operational or sustainable performance of the students and staff on campus and that is something that we are distributing to the sustainability and operations team,” said Goodine.

Walko added, “the information about what is being thrown away can help UMass inform how they buy new products to help reduce waste from the source.”

A grant of $275,000 was provided by the National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and $125,000 from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s AmplifyMass program to help with this research. RStream’s long-term goal is to optimize the reverse supply chain so that items can be recycled more easily.

Local News

Kayleigh Thomas is a digital reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Kayleigh on X @kayleighcthomas and view her bio to see more of her work.