- Mar 21, 2009
India's first improvised explosive device (IED) disposal robot, Daksh, will be handed over to the army authorities in the city on Monday.
A total of five units of the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) developed by the Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) (R&DE[E]), a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory, will be handed over to the army.
In an interview to DNA on Saturday, head of robotics, R&DE(E), Alok Mukherjee, said that Daksh, which was developed and manufactured in India at the cost of Rs1.7 crore each, was half the cost of imported robots. Mukherjee said that Daksh had surpassed similar category robots from the UK on 20 counts in recent comparison tests.
The robot was part of a package that also included a carrier vehicle, which could carry the robot, six personnel, a master control station, accessories and spares.
According to Mukherjee, the primary job of the robot was to detect a hidden IED or a bomb and diffuse it. Daksh is a compact robot on wheels which has a manipulator arm with six joints.
The robot, which can travel 500 metre from the master control station, is adept in cross-country situations and could even climb stairs. The operator in the vehicle has access to a portable, X-ray system, which allows him to see the insides of a bag.
"If there is a bomb inside the bag, the robot's water jet disruptor can be activated to diffuse the bomb immediately," Mukherjee said.
Tracing the history of Daksh, Mukherjee said that an opportunity to repair a Canadian robot at the College of Military Engineering in 2001 triggered an interest in the R&DE(E) team to develop an indigenous robot, and this is how the robotics development centre was formed in 2002.
According to Mukherjee, the first prototype of Daksh was produced in May 2005, and the army conducted trials over three years (2006-08) before giving it the thumbs up.
"The army even conducted a comparison trial with a UK-made robot and found that Daksh was better on 20 distinct counts. This is what actually clinched us the deal. The army gave us the bulk production clearance for 20 units of Daksh in September 2011.
We are happy that we could deliver the first five units in just three months," Mukherjee said.
He is confident that the rest of the 15 units would be ready by March 2012.
Mukherjee said that Daksh would be invaluable to the armed forces, the police, the paramilitary forces and airport and railway authorities to track and diffuse IEDs in crowded places.
Mukherjee said Daksh is special because the product is completely indigenous and R&DE (E) has transferred the technology to three Pune-based companies, viz Messrs Dynalog, Theta Controls and Bharat Electronics, which are in a position to manufacture and sell the equipment with a specified royalty to be paid to the DRDO.
"The biggest advantage for the users is that the robot can be easily serviced and repaired in India," he said.
Army to get indigenous IED disposal robot tomorrow - Mumbai - DNA