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Robot that can end India's manual scavenging

Agencies|
​Bandicoot: Robot replacing manual scavenging
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​Bandicoot: Robot replacing manual scavenging

One of the biggest problems in India is the profession of manual scavenging. Although laws have been made to stop the practice, human scavengers are forced to enter and clean the manholes with their hands even today — a major reason being a lack of proper technological solutions to take their place.

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) has procured a manhole-cleaning robot called 'Bandicoot', which would help end the practice of manual scavenging.

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​Trial run of Bandicoot
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​Trial run of Bandicoot

GHMC Mayor B Rammohan inaugurated the "bandicoot" robotic manhole desilting machine at the Biodiversity junction at Gachibowli in Hyderabad.

The Supreme Court has issued guidelines to all Urban Local Bodies in the country to have "technology adopted methods" for cleaning manholes and septic tanks.

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​Cost
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​Cost

The Raheja Corp. as part of its CSR initiative funded the project of procurement of 'Bandicoot' robotic machine at an estimated cost of Rs 32 lakhs to avoid manual scavenging.

BCCL
​Key features
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​Key features

The key features of the machine include, complete robotic solution for eliminating manual scavenging and cleaning sewage in a world class manner using four advanced sewer cameras whichwork in day and light.

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​Working technology
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​Working technology

To get the job done, the robot goes inside the manhole and mimics all the actions of a human scavenger.

Bandicoot has two structures. One is the robotic unit with an arm and four legs that enters the manhole and handles the cleaning operation. The other is a control panel unit that stays outside the manhole with the person controlling or monitoring Bandicoot.

The robotic unit has a fixed, waterproof, night-vision camera that transmits 4K resolution videos and images in real time, even in the presence of water.

Various sensors help Bandicoot measure different environmental parameters like manhole dimensions, material and chemicals inside the manhole, humidity, temperature and so on. The robotic arm has five degrees of freedom with 360-degree movement capacity. A bucket unit of 18 litres capacity is attached to collect waste.

BCCL
​Two modes
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​Two modes

The cleaning process can be done in two modes: automatic or semi-automatic. Automatic cleaning can be applied to standard manholes. It is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) programs based on data collected by sensors. The robotic unit moves inside the manhole by itself and cleans on its own.

For non-standard manholes, the semi-automatic control is brought into play. The human being controlling the robot can use the control panel that has a display screen to position Bandicoot inside the manhole. Cleaning is done automatically.

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Copyright © 2019 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service