TARGET 9.4 — By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies…

Rubicon started out looking to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills by bringing waste collection into the 21st century. As the company has grown, its mission has expanded. Today, Rubicon is working to end waste in all its forms, including wasted tax dollars and wasted time.

The company’s latest venture, Rubicon SmartCity, is using garbage trucks, street sweepers and snow plows to do for urban infrastructure what Ceres’ planes do for farmers’ fields. “As these big, hulking, expensive vehicles go about their fixed daily routes, they can simultaneously be looking for potholes and cracks in the pavement before they become hazards,” explained
Michael Allegretti, Rubicon’s chief public strategy officer. They can even help identify quality-of-life issues such as graffiti.

The system uses three pieces of technology. The first is a telematics device that keeps track of where the vehicle is at all times. “The second piece of technology we call the driver interface,” said Allegretti. “It’s based on a phone or a tablet, and provides things like turnby-turn directions, route optimization and confirmation that the garbage has been collected or the street swept,
whatever the core service of that vehicle is.” The driver can also use the device to note items of concern by simply touching pre-programmed notes.

The third component is an outward-facing camera that is programmed to look for and photograph specific problems without the driver having to take action. It might note the same service-related issues the driver would, but it can also spot potholes, abandoned houses or an encampment of homeless people in need of services.

“All three of these pieces of technology—the pod, the driver interface and the outward facing camera—are gathering different types of data and then pushing them back to a portal, where supervisors and others can use the information to establish priorities and take corrective action,” said Allegretti.