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In The News – New aquatic robot cleans Lake Tahoe’s waters

August 5, 2023 | Member Submitted

Originally published in the Tahoe Daily Tribune 08/02/2023, Submitted

LAKE TAHOE, Nev./Calif.– At first glance, Lake Tahoe is pristine. But look closer. Aquatic invasive plants and trash threaten the unique water quality and clarity for which Tahoe is known. Floating debris like plastic litter can leach chemicals into the aquatic environment, while each individual fragment of an invasive weed represents a new potential infestation and further harm to the Lake’s fragile ecology. To Keep Tahoe Blue, the League to Save Lake Tahoe teamed up with ECO-CLEAN Solutions and the Tahoe Keys Marina to introduce an aquatic robot that glides across the surface, removing water-borne debris and aquatic weeds. Meet the PixieDrone.

“Together, we’re embarking on a mission to safeguard the pristine beauty of Lake Tahoe, combining cutting-edge technology with environmental stewardship,” said JT Chevallier, co-founder and chief strategy officer of ECO-CLEAN Solutions.

The PixieDrone is an electric, autonomous and programmable, motorized skimmer. As it moves through the water, the robot captures debris inside its open “mouth,” just like manta rays and humpback whales capture prey. Thanks to on-board Lidar technology (light detection and ranging), the PixieDrone avoids obstacles and adjusts its course in real time, allowing it to navigate between docks, pilings and boat slips as it cleans along a pre-mapped route. 


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