The Waste Shark is a solar-powered drone the size of a regular passenger car which could be about to transform the way in which the world tackles the ever-growing problem of marine plastic debris.
Invented by South African Richard Hardiman, CEO of RanMarine, the shark features an open mouth set 35 centimetres below the water surface which can collect around 500 kilograms of waste material before it is full.
Two different sizes of these devices are currently taking part in a six-month pilot project being run by the Port of Rotterdam Authority in the Netherlands.
The sharks, which can be deployed 24 hours a day, become more efficient as they skim the surface of the water, absorbing information about each environment they work in thanks to the use of on-board sensors and cameras.
All rubbish collected is passed on to recycling and waste management partners for processing. Because of its location at the mouth of several major rivers, Rotterdam attracts particularly high volumes of marine waste which authorities are keen to capture before it is washed out by the tide into the open sea.
The shark can more easily reach areas around jetties and under bridges than conventional manned vessels.