Mumbai

BPCL presents BMC with two robots to clean manholes

As per government records, the robotic scavenger can reduce 20% of conservancy work in a city like Mumbai, which has 5,000 manholes, authorities said.

As per government records, the robotic scavenger can reduce 20% of conservancy work in a city like Mumbai, which has 5,000 manholes, authorities said.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

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Bandicoot robots have human-like arms, infrared night vision

In an attempt to cut the hazards faced by conservancy workers on a daily basis, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) on Thursday provided two robotic manhole cleaning machines to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC). The M-West ward will use the machines.

BPCL officials said the initiative was launched considering the fact that conservancy workers regularly deal with health hazards like being exposed to harmful gases such as methane and hydrogen sulphide while working in the sewers.

The two Bandicoot robots were presented to Dr. Prithviraj Chavan, assistant municipal commissioner, M-West ward. The robots have been created by a group of engineers from Genrobotics Innovations, which was started in 2015. According to government records, the robotic scavenger can reduce 20% of conservancy work in a city like Mumbai, which has 5,000 manholes, Dr. Chavan said.

Mr. Parambi said the move was aimed at not only improving the working conditions of conservancy workers, but also at facilitating better cleaning of sewer networks.

“Apart from robotic cleaning of manholes, the project also includes training conservancy workers of the M-West ward in the use of these robots, along with a medical camp and an awareness session,” he said.

The robots are equipped with infrared night vision cameras, which monitor the cleaning operations live and broadcast the feed to the operators. They also have arms that allow for a human-level freedom of movement and an alert system that warns of the presence of poisonous gases like ammonia, hydrogen and methane.

“These robots are not a step but a leap towards cleanliness. The first such robots were deployed in our Mumbai refinery and that worked wonders, which is why we thought of attempting it on a larger scale,” said C.J. Iyer, executive director in charge of BPCL’s Mumbai refinery. Vipin M.K., marketing executive of Genrobotics, described how the robots are capable of using their legs to enter the unseen depths of manholes and pull out solid waste material.

“Such robots have been deployed in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Telangana and now Maharashtra. They have the potential to eliminate manual entry into the drainage system by 100%, if deployed in all corners of the nation. It can make India the first country to use high technology in sanitation, making it manual scavenging-free,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 7:49:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/bpcl-presents-bmc-with-two-robots-to-clean-manholes/article30055878.ece

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