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Ro-boat: an autonomous robot for cleaning rivers

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  • Project initiator: Omnipresent Robot Tech Pvt Ltd
  • Duration of project: since 2013

Context of how the project emerged

The Ganges is both sacred and one of the ten most polluted rivers in the world. It is soiled by more than 1,500 million litres of nontreated industrial wastewater a day, representing a rate of pollution 3,000 times that recommended by the World Health Organisation.

The Indian government is attempting to reduce pollution, by closing tanneries that discharge highly toxic water into the river, linking houses to drains, building wastewater treatment plants and better protecting the fauna and flora. However, the task is huge.

The Ro-boat is a technological solution proposed by the young Indian entrepreneur Aakash Sinha, who is participating in the combat against this degradation of the country’s rivers.


Strategy and objectives

The Ro-Boat can detect, collect and eliminate all kinds of pollutants, including chemical products and floating waste. The machine can be programmed to collect all kinds of sludges with its robotised arms, and then unload the waste.

How does it work?

The Ro-Boat detects chemical pollution via different sensors, GPS and onboard cameras. It then sucks in the water and filters the pollutants before releasing the cleaned water. Its sensors can also be used to detect and recover waste in the river, collect debris and recover sludges deposited on the river bed.


The project’s innovative characteristics


The Ro-boat can work autonomously, with minimum human intervention. It is equipped with antifog lights and a panoramic zoom camera, allowing it to operate 24/7 in all weathers.

It is also equipped with an array of solar panels and a double helix motor that allows it to navigate while using less energy. The boat has the unique capacity to fully submerge in the river to extract pollutants lying on the river bed.

It operates 12 hours a day and can carry a load of up to 15 kg. Thanks to these characteristics, it is capable of cleaning 600 kg of waste a day, which is to say 200 tonnes of waste a year.



Results and perspectives

The Ro-Boat was tested successfully in the Yamuna river in New Delhi, in the framework of the Ganges River Action Plan of the Ministry of Water Resources. The engineers who designed it estimate that 50 such devices would be capable of cleaning the river in 6 months.

Le Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has acknowledged the Ro-Boat technology as one of the 20 most promising innovations to emerge from India in 2013. It was also acknowledged by US-AID as one of the five most promising innovations of 2013 in the area of water and drainage.

The Ro-Boat is still in the development and experimental phase, in particular to increase the load it can carry. Its designers are in discussion with the Indian government to extend its use.


How can this project be duplicated?

The start-up is currently marketing the robot while continuing research to optimise its efficiency.

#Robot #River #Pollution #India

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