The Pune Municipal Corporation has introduced three advanced robots named ‘Bandicoot’ to clean and maintain city manholes safely without workers entering into the manholes. This initiative is in alignment with the vision of Pune Smart City to bring more safety in the maintenance of city manholes using advanced technologies.
Manual scavenging requires humans to enter manholes and clean them physically and this practice has claimed the lives of many workers. To solve this challenge PMC is now using robots to clean sewers. This initiative gives safer and dignified job opportunities to the sanitation workers as robot operators with training and rehabilitation programs. The user interface of the Bandicoot Robot is designed for manual scavengers, which is interactive, and user friendly, and would offer a dignified work profile to these workers as well.
The Bandicoot robot is the world's first manhole cleaning robot developed as ‘Make In India’ and ‘Swachh Bharat’ initiative by National Award winning start-up – Genrobotics. Bandicoot robot comes with a human comparable robotic arm and various sensors that help the robot to perform the cleaning action more efficiently. These robots are also featured with special 4 IP68 waterproof cameras to clean the manholes in a more precise and efficient manner, even under low light conditions.
The Honourable Municipal Commissioner Shri Vikram Kumar, IAS launched the Bandicoot Robots on 2nd May 22 at Pune MC office. Other dignitaries like the CEO of Pune Smart City Dr. Sanjay Kolte IAS, Additional Commissioner of Pune Municipal Corporation, Dr. Kunal Khemnar IAS, M L A Shri Sunil Tingre Member of Hadapsar Vidhan Sabha, Chief Engineer Shri. Shrinivas Kandul, CKO Pune Smart City Shri. Annirudha Shahpure and Superintendent Engineer drainage department Santosh Tandale attended the event.
The Bandicoot Robotic technology is an AMRUT Tech Challenge Award winner as a Promising Innovative Solution for sanitation by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India. This technology has also been exported to other countries to improve safety in confined spaces such sewer manholes, Refinery pits etc.
How does a Bandicoot Robot work?
Bandicoot Robots can do every action a human can perform inside the manhole, and can clean manholes more efficiently and effectively than a human by using the most advanced technologies like robotics and AI. It is also equipped with poisonous gas sensors, which help the operators to know the presence of poisonous gases inside the manholes, as this is one of the most common reasons for the manhole accidents.
Bandicoot can converge its diameter by using its legs to enter into the unseen depths of the manholes and after entering the manholes it will use its legs to move and gain more stability inside the manhole while pulling out the solid waste materials. Its specially designed robotic arm performs multiple operations such as shovelling, grabbing and pulling the wastes even from the corners of the manhole, which helps the liquid waste to flow through the sewer system naturally, This procedure is more efficient in cleaning manholes than any other conventional cleaning methodologies.
The robot has specially designed four-night vision, water and sewerage proof cameras so the depth and darkness of manholes won't be a threat anymore. After collecting all the wastes using its robotic arm from every corner, its intelligent bucket system will collect the wastes and pull it out from the manhole. These robots can be electrically powered through direct electricity, generators or batteries. The robot has simple control functions, which, make it easier for the sanitation workers to handle it, and it also comes with an inbuilt training assistance that helps these workers to learn the operation through symbolic graphical representations. The operator can use the Robot with a single touch of control and it is as simple as playing a mobile phone game. Bandicoot can also be used for inspection of manholes. Along with awareness program on the adverse effects of manual scavenging, medical checkups and PPE kit distribution will also be conducted during the project for psychologically preparing the sanitation workers to be the robot operators. This will create a socio-economic impact on sanitation workers and that can provide a better and dignified lifestyle to the manual scavenging community.
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