The Pune Municipal Corporation has launched three sophisticated ‘Bandicoot’ robots to clean and maintain city maintenance holes without requiring employees to enter the pits.
This initiative aligns with the vision of Pune Smart City to bring more safety to the maintenance of city maintenance holes using advanced technologies.
Manual scavenging involves humans physically entering utility holes and cleaning them, and it has cost the lives of many employees. To address this issue, PMC is currently cleaning sewers with robots. This project provides sanitation employees with safer and more respectable career prospects as robot operators with training and rehabilitation programs. The Bandicoot Robot’s user interface is created for manual scavengers, and it is interactive and user-pleasant and provides these employees with a good work profile.
The Bandicoot robot is the world’s first maintenance hole cleaning robot, created as part of Genrobotics’ MakeInIndia and Swachh Bharat initiatives. The bandicoot robot has a similar human-robotic arm and several sensors that assist the Robot in performing the cleaning activity more efficiently. These robots also include four unique IP68 waterproof cameras that allow them to clean utility holes more precisely and effectively, especially in low-light settings.
On May 22, the Honourable Municipal Commissioner Shri Vikram Kumar, IAS, unveiled the Bandicoot Robots at the Pune Municipal Corporation headquarters. Other dignitaries in attendance included Dr. Sanjay Kolte IAS, CEO of Pune Smart City, Dr. Kunal Khemnar IAS, M L A Shri Sunil Tingre Member of Hadapsar Vidhan Sabha, Chief Engineer Shrinivas Kandul, CKO Pune Smart City Shri. Aniruddha Shahpure, and Superintendent Engineer drainage department Santosh Tandale.
The Bandicoot Robotic technology has been named a Promising Innovative Solution for Sanitation by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs of the Government of India. This technique has also been transferred to other nations to increase safety in tight areas like sewage maintenance holes, refinery pits, etc.
How does a Bandicoot Robot function?
Bandicoot Robots, employing sophisticated technology such as robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), can do every operation a human can accomplish inside the maintenance hole and clean utility holes more efficiently and effectively than humans. It also has dangerous gas sensors, which alert operators to harmful gases inside maintenance holes, which is one of the most prevalent causes of maintenance hole accidents.
Bandicoot can converge its diameter by entering the hidden depths of the maintenance holes with its legs. It will utilize its legs to move and achieve stability inside the maintenance holes after joining them while drawing out the solid waste items. Its specially designed robotic arm performs multiple operations such as shoveling, grabbing, and pulling wastes from the corners of the maintenance hole, allowing liquid waste to flow naturally through the sewer system; this procedure is more efficient in cleaning maintenance holes than any other conventional cleaning methodologies.
The Robot is equipped with specifically built four-night vision, water, and sewage resistant cameras, so the depth and darkness of maintenance holes are no longer a problem. After collecting all wastes from every area with its robotic arm, its intelligent bucket system will gather the scraps and pull them out of the maintenance hole. These robots can be powered by direct electricity, generators, or batteries.
The Robot features essential control functions that make it easier for sanitation employees to operate. It also has built-in training tools to assist this personnel in learning the procedure using symbolic, graphical representations. The operator may work the Robot with a single touch, making it as simple as playing a mobile phone game. Bandicoot is also helpful in inspecting maintenance holes. Along with an information program on the negative impacts of manual scavenging, medical exams and PPE kit distribution will be carried out to prepare sanitation staff to be robot operators mentally. This will have a socioeconomic influence on sanitation workers while also providing a better and more respectable way of life for the manual scavenging population.