Kerala became the first state in the country to use robotics technology for cleaning all its commissioned manholes by pressing into service the robotic scavenger Bandicoot in the temple town of Guruvayur on Friday.
Bandicoot is inducted in the town under the Guruvayur Sewerage Project by Kerala Water Authority (KWA), as part of the 100-day action plan of the state government. Commissioning of manholes is the process of connecting households, hotels and other establishments to the network of sewerage system.
Bandicoot, developed by Kerala-based Genrobotics, is already in use in urban bodies across the country, phasing out the practice of sanitation workers physically entering the manholes to keep them clean. Genrobotics, India’s leading robotic company, recently bagged ‘Kerala Pride’ award at the Huddle Global 2022 conclave organised by Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM).
Kerala Minister for Water Resources Roshi Augustine inaugurated the deployment of Bandicoot in the Municipality. In his inaugural address, the Minister said the launch of robotic scavenger in Guruvayur Municipality marked a major step towards use of technology-driven solutions for manhole cleaning across the state.
Augustine said with the deployment of Bandicoot in Guruvayur, all the commissioned manholes have been transformed into robotic revolution.
A special team of KWA officials will be constituted for the operation of robotic cleaning in Guruvayur, the Minister said. The modernisation of sewerage system will help contain the spread epidemics and serious health challenges caused by them, the Minister added.
NK Akbar, MLA, presided over the function held at P Krishna Pillai Square in the town. Director of Genrobotic Innovations Shri Vimal Govind MK briefed the gathering about the technology.
Vimal Govind said Bandicoot will be cleaning all the commissioned sewerage and drainages in Kerala as the state has embraced the smart manhole cleaning system.
Guruvayur Municipal Chairman M Krishnadas delivered the welcome address. GuruvayurDevaswom Board Chairman V K Vijayan and KWA Board Member Shri Shaji Pampoori were also present.
Beginning as a startup, Genrobotics made a big impact by developing the world’s first robotic scavenger Bandicoot in an effort to eliminate manual scavenging that would provide huge respite for workers engaged in manhole cleaning.
The venture, headquartered at Technopark in the state capital, is co-founded by Vimal Govind M.K, Arun George, Rashid K, and Nikhil N P.
Bandicoot robots are currently deployed in 17 states of India and 3 UT’s. In 2018, KWA started using Bandicoot to clean the manholes in Thiruvananthapuram. Later, it was introduced in Ernakulam also.
The robotic Tron Unit, which is the major component of Bandicoot, enters the manhole and removes sewage using robotic hands, similar to a man’s limbs. It has waterproof, HD vision cameras and gas sensors that can identify harmful gases inside the manhole.
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