In light of the highly polluted state of the Ganges River, Aakash Sina of Omnipresent Robot Tech devised the Ro-Boat, an autonomous underwater vehicle that can identify, collect, and dispose of a range of pollutants. Using robotic arms, the machine can be programmed to pick up a variety of waste— from chemical products to floating objects. Sensors, GPS, and onboard cameras help detect pollutants. Once a pollutant is detected, the water and objects are sucked into the Ro-Boat, where the water is then filtered and released once clean. Up to 15 kg of waste can be collected, and pollutants can be detected all the way down to the riverbed, where sludge can be removed if found. The Ro-Boat is also energy efficient, equipped with solar panels and a double helix motor. Operating for up to 12 hours a day, the Ro-Boat is thus capable of collecting up to 200 tonnes of waste per year. A pilot test was conducted in 2013 within the Yamuna river in New Delhi, executed under the framework of the Ganges River Action Plan of the Ministry of Water Resources. Engineers estimated that in order to clean the Ganges River, 50 Ro-Boats would be needed over a six-month span. Despite appraisal from MIT and US-AID, the Ro-Boat is still in its research and development stage and is looking to expand its carrying capacity. 

Ro-boat: An autonomous robot for cleaning rivers. (2016). Retrieved from

Sinha, A., Bhardwaj, P., Vaibhav, B., & Mohommad, N. (2014, February). Research and development of Ro-boat: an autonomous river cleaning robot. In Intelligent Robots and Computer Vision XXXI: Algorithms and Techniques (Vol. 9025, p. 90250Q). International Society for Optics and Photonics.


Artificial Life, Monitoring, Pollution