L&T has donated a state-of-the-art robot to Vadodara Municipal Corporation to automate the cleaning and maintenance of sewer manholes and put an end to manual scavenging. The robot developed by Genrobotics was recently donated to the city municipal corporation officials by the Hydrocarbon arm
This initiative by LTHE in collaboration with city municipality and the Government of Gujarat is aimed at ending the practice of manual scavenging and safeguarding the lives of not just those responsible for cleaning and maintenance of sewers but also the public at large. The intuitive design and friendly UI of the robot is designed keeping in mind the users – manual scavengers – so that they can operate it with ease.
Commenting on this development, Mr Subramanian Sarma, Whole-time Director & Sr. Executive Vice President (Energy), L&T said: “As per our commitment to ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) framework, introduction of this Hi-Tech Robot for manhole cleaning process is aimed at phasing out manual scavenging without compromising the sanitation workers’ livelihoods.” “Given the ongoing Covid pandemic, mechanization of sewer cleaning operations will lessen sanitation workers’ exposure to hazardous waste materials and prevent them from developing serious medical conditions. We hope that this automation solution emerges as a trend and all municipalities in the country adopt it soon,” he added.
The project has been implemented with a vision to help and improve the safety and dignity of sanitation workers and bring a positive change in the sanitation workers’ community. The dehumanizing and degrading practice of manual scavenging is a problem that continues to plague our society. Despite legal provisions against it, the practice has persisted due to lack of alternatives. Deploying a technological solution such as this and its successful implementing could, however, turn the tide in the favour of sanitation workers and get rid of the problem once and for all. The technology powering the robot is the winner of AMRUT Tech Challenge Award as Promising Innovative Solution for Sanitation by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India.
Details about Robot Functions
The robot goes inside the manhole and mimics all the actions of a human scavenger. The robotic arm enters the manhole and handles the cleaning operation. There is a control panel unit that stays outside the manhole with the person controlling or monitoring the robot. The robotic unit has a fixed, waterproof, night-vision camera that transmits videos and images in real time, even in the presence of water. Various sensors help Robot to measure different environmental parameters like manhole dimensions, material and chemicals inside the manhole, humidity, temperature and so on. The robotic arm has five degrees of freedom with 360-degree movement capacity. Robot would be able to clean one manhole in 30 – 45 min depending upon the waste. Robot can cover 8-10 manhole every day against 1 or 2 being covered by manual scavenging.