Bengaluru, May 25 – Tech company Zoho Corporation said on Wednesday that it has invested Rs 20 crore in Genrobotics, an Indian startup building robotics and AI-powered solutions for social issues such as hazardous working conditions.
Chennai-headquartered Zoho said that the investment will assist Genrobotics in its mission to eradicate manual scavenging in India and provide safety and dignity to workers in the sanitation and oil and gas industries.
Genrobotics offers ‘Bandicoot’ robot, the world’s first robotic scavenger, which helps clean confined spaces such as sewers manholes, sewer wells, storm water manholes, oily water sewers (OWS) and storm water sewers (SWS) in refineries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched ‘Bandicoot’ in 2018.
“Building such technological competencies and critical know-how locally can help foster sustainable growth across key sectors, like industrial manufacturing, healthcare, and energy, in turn making the country economically stronger and self-reliant,” said Sridhar Vembu, CEO and co-founder of Zoho Corp.
Currently, smart cities, Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), refineries, multinational companies, townships and housing colonies across 14 states are leveraging Bandicoot robots, thereby eliminating the need for human entry into manholes.
Genrobotics recently ventured into healthcare and launched a robot-assisted gait training solution called ‘G Gaiter’ to aid the recovery of people with paraplegia through improved rehabilitation experiences.
“Bandicoot, which combines the use of human intelligence and Artificial Intelligence, is transforming the sanitation and oil and gas industries by offering a viable alternative to the dangerous practice of manual cleaning,” said Vimal Govind MK, CEO and co-founder of Genrobotics.
Bandicoot robots are designed to mimic human movements with the help of AI.
They use their legs, various sensors and cameras to enter manholes, move around and gain stability in different terrains.
The multi-purpose robotic arm can perform actions such as shovelling, grabbing, picking and water-jet positioning necessary for various types of cleaning.
It is equipped with a sensor to detect poisonous gases and specially-designed four-IP68 night vision cameras that provide visuals of the confined space through the user interface located safely above the manhole, enabling sanitation workers to do their jobs safely and efficiently.