BREVARD COUNTY - Thousands of people visit Florida's beaches each year and with any big tourist hot spot, people are bound to leave behind food and trash. It can take a lot of people to help clean the beaches, which is why an organization is using technology, specifically a robot, to help keep Cocoa Beach clean.
Meet Bebot, a robotic beachcomber that cleans plastic, cigarettes, bottle caps, and glass from the beach. It's believed to be the first robot tasked with cleaning beaches in the nation.
"I didn’t know what it was. I didn’t see it at first, my son did, and his first question was, 'what is this robot?" said Terri Tate, who is visiting Florida from Michigan.
The 900-pound robot is powered by the sun and is controlled by a remote. On a full charge, it has two or three hours of cleaning power on the beach, according to Keep Brevard Beautiful, a nonprofit that developed the machine.
"This is more of an offset to focus on the things we normally can’t clean," said Bryan Bobbitt, executive director of Keep Brevard Beautiful.
"We don’t really have time to dig down deep and pull out all the little plastics," he said.
While the robot will undoubtedly draw curious eyes, Bobbitt hopes it will also remind people of the consequences of dumping trash on the beach.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 99% of seabird species will have digested some sort of plastic by 2050.