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Case Study

Capra Robotics Uses Skylark to Autonomously Navigate Sidewalks and Paths to Remove Cigarette Butts


“At Capra Robotics, we’re creating a cleaner environment by eliminating cigarette butts from our cities. Precise positioning with centimeter accuracy is required to find butts on the sidewalk. Skylark provides the GNSS position to our control system.”

Niels Jul Jacobsen, CEO, Capra Robotics

Capra Robotics is a Danish company that solves an often overlooked problem common to almost every global city: cigarette butts strewn everywhere. Cigarette butts are the most frequently littered item in the world with roughly 4.5 trillion being tossed each year. They leach toxic chemicals into the soil and waterways and contain harmful microplastics. Capra Robotics’ goal is to utilize their robots to locate and remove cigarette butts so that the environment is clean and trash-free.

Large machine sweepers struggle to operate on these terrains and cannot locate and eradicate the tiny bits of trash easily. Meanwhile, human labor is time and cost-intensive (Capra estimates the cost to be $0.40 per butt, and with more than 6 billion cigarettes smoked annually in Denmark alone, those cents add up quickly).

Enter Butty, Capra Robotics' small robot equipped to navigate autonomously and remove unsightly and toxic cigarette butts. This cigarette eliminator uses cameras and AI for trash detection, sensors for navigation and is also equipped with a suction unit to absorb the butts into its inbuilt trash container. Additionally, it has a mobile platform to monitor its activity. Given the environments it operates in, such as sidewalks and paths, precision navigation is an essential requirement for Butty’s success.

Capra Robotics used Swift’s Skylark Precise Positioning Service to enable accuracy of <4 cm for autonomous navigation. Skylark delivered a significant increase in performance compared to standard GNSS. This higher-level precision improves the robot’s velocity and allows it to remove cigarettes more efficiently.