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It’s a Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s a Poop-Scooping Drone

Dutch entrepreneur experiments with drone and robot technology to clean up pet mess.


It feels like there’s a new drone for just about everything these days. Well, here’s one you might not have considered: According to an article on, a Dutch entrepreneur has come up with a drone design tasked with identifying and scooping dog poop off of city streets.

Gerben Lievers’ Watchdog1 is a drone that uses thermal imaging to locate uncollected dog poop by sensing its warmer temperature compared to the regular ground, the article said. The solution takes the GPS coordinates of the “target area” and sends it off to Patroldog1, which is a ground-robot robot tasked with poop collection.

To ensure its drone solution can identify both fresh and older pet droppings, the developers augmented their drone design with recognition software so it can actually identify stale poop from a fresher batch. As if that weren’t gross enough, the article quotes Lievers on how he plans to improve that recognition software: “It may be that people will need to send us pictures of the poo of their dog in order to train our machines to be better,” he said.

Lievers is hoping local governments will provide funding for his drone project and neighborhood volunteers will learn to fly the drones, the article said.

I’m all for poop-free streets, but this seems like a bit much to me.

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