What is Bandicoot

What is Bandicoot? Why is government shying away from undertaking the mechanism?

Technologies have done wonders in human lives. The machines have eased the difficult jobs for humans across the world. Recently, an Indian start-up called Genrobotics has come-up with the world’s first manhole-cleaning robot called Bandicoot. Not just Bandicoot, other robotic machines like Sewer Croc, and 14 other machines are in various stages of development. The start-ups are working tirelessly on the manhole cleaning machines without any help from the Central government.

It is time to give these people their dignity. There are methods to clean sewers without a man getting into the pit. Municipalities such as those in Thanjavur, Madurai, and Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu, Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, and Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi in Kerala are already using the Bandicoot robot for cleaning their sewers,” said Arun George, co-founder of Genrobotics.

Bandicoot is a four-legged robot weighing 50 kg. It is capable of cleaning a manhole in just 20 minutes that usually takes three workers and two to three hours of efforts to clean that amount of dirt. The robot has a magnetic mechanism to lift the manhole lid on its own while a technician can also lower it into a manhole to clear the blockage.

How does Bandicoot work?

The robot is a one-armed machine that can rotate up to 360-degree. The legs latch on to the walls inside the drainage pipe to balance the robot while the arm scrapes the sewer debris and dumps it into a bucket-like structure on the main body of the robot. It is also configurated to fire a jet of water when needed to flush off some dirt.

What else can this robot do?

Bandicoot is developed with a feature to change the end of the robotic arm to clean different sized drainage systems like the inside of a manhole or the insides of a sewer line. The robot also has cameras fit into them that is configured to work also in low light conditions to identify the causes as in, where the blockage is? What poisonous gases are present? And what is the pH value of sewer water? Genrobotics is using machine-learning technology to make it perform better in auto mode.

Image Credit: genrobotics.org

What is the cost of the Bandicoot machine?

George’s Bandicoot costs between Rs 18 lakh to 30 lakh depending on the features of the robot.

Also Watch: Six manual scavengers die every month in India

Why is government no adopting the machinery mechanism to clean sewers?

Approximately one municipality gives around Rs 1,500 per manhole to any contractor. Now the contractor pays around Rs 500 to one labour and gets around three to four manholes cleaned per day. This makes the machine’s initial expenses quite high to the government when they can have an easy access to labourers to get the manhole cleaned.

On an addition, the sewage workers are not even provided with safety gears including harnesses, safety jackets, gloves, boots, masks, and oxygen cylinders. That again cut the coast of total expenses spent on a manual scavenger.

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