“Bandicoot” to be tested in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu
Thiruvananthapuram, April 7: Kerala startup Genrobotics says it plans to unveil five more ‘Bandicoot’ robots for cleaning sewer holes, including for pilot projects in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, after garnering tremendous response to its innovative idea of using robots for the task and potentially eliminating the age-old practice of manual scavenging.
The startup was among the participants of the two-day Huddle Kerala conclave, which concluded at The Leela Raviz Beach Resort, Kovalam here on Saturday and their stall at the expo drew much attention.
Founded in 2015, GenRobotics specializes in powered exoskeletons and human controlled robotic systems.
Sharjah Digital Transformation Higher Committee Chairman Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, who was the chief guest at the inaugural event on Friday, was among the visitors to the Genrobotics stall.
The founders, engineering graduates Arun George, Vimal Govind, N.P. Nikhil and Ashiq, said they had received several enquiries from the UAE, and hoped that their brief meeting with Sheikh Fahim would open doors to present their product in Sharjah.
Genrobotics launched the world’s first manhole cleaning robot ‘Bandicoot’ in Thiruvananthapuram on an experimental basis in February this year.
The Bandicoot has four limbs and a bucket system attached to a spiderweb-like extension, which can go inside the manhole. The waste at the bottom of the manhole is shoveled into the bucket system and lifted out. The robot has Wi-Fi and bluetooth modules.
Meanwhile, Genrobotics has received an invitation to present “Bandicoot” in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Of the five new robots, one each will be used in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for pilot projects, two will go to KWA and one will be used by the Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL), the founders said.
Apart from the Kerala Financial Corporation (KFC), Genrobotics is getting funds from venture capitalist Unicorn India Ventures for the production of the robots.
The company has been incubated under the KSUM, a nodal agency of the Kerala government for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state.
The Kerala Water Authority (KWA) and Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) have signed an MoU for the transfer of technology and products, including the use of robots for cleaning up sewers.
Genrobotics say they have already trained two manhole cleaners on the use of the robot and it has been functioning without any technical glitches so far.
The company is planning to train 20 more workers in the hope of eventually ending the practice of manual scavenging. For ease-of-use, the robots will be equipped to respond to commands in Malayalam.
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