Thiruvananthapuram

New ‘Bandicoot’ to clean manholes

The earlier version of manhole cleaning machine ‘Bandicoot’ released on February 26, 2018.  

An updated version of ‘Bandicoot,’ the manhole-cleaning robot, will be introduced in the State capital soon.

Bandicoot’s initial model, which weighed around 160 kgs, had failed to click with the Kerala Water Authority (KWA), which manages the sewers. The new version is lighter and more compact compared to the initial version that was tested in Thiruvananthapuram in 2018, Technopark-based Genrobotics, the developer of the machine, said.

KWA had suggested modifications, including making the machine lighter.

Genrobotics has now inked an agreement with the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) for introducing the updated ‘Bandicoot - 2.0,’ Genrobotics CEO Vimal Govind said.

“Bandicoot 2.0 is much lighter than the first model and offers better manoeuvrability. It also has several added features,” Mr. Vimal said.

Version 2.0 had been launched in New Delhi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UN General Secretary Antonio Guteress in October 2018.

A senior official of the KWA (Sewerage Division) said the water utility expects to introduce the machine once the COVID-19 threat subsides.

“'The initial version that was tried out here was too heavy. We have accepted the refined model and agreed to take it on lease for one year,”' the official said. Under the new agreement, Genrobotics will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the machine.

The enhanced version of the spider-like machine sports a carbon fibre-reinforced polymer body. This has helped bring down the weight from around 160 kg to 80 kg. Weight was one of the limiting factors of the machine.

“The first version was specifically designed for manholes in Kerala. The new version can be used across India,” Afsal Muttikkal, Chief Marketing officer, Genrobotics, said.

Scavenging

Bandicoot was developed as an alternative to manual scavenging.

After the trials in Kerala, it had quickly found takers in a number of States including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharsashtra, Punjab, and Assam. The company had also received enquiries from Dubai, Qatar and Kuwait, company officials said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 10:24:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/new-bandicoot-to-clean-manholes/article31103118.ece

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