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Robot-based canvassing on cards

Now, ‘Doot’ is ready to serve political parties by reaching out to a limited group of people with their messages amid the pandemic

Robot-based canvassing on cards

As mass public gatherings remain an obvious danger in India amid the lethal Covid-19 waves, you may see humanoid robots performing campaigning on behalf of political leaders in the 2022 Assembly elections. Onestand India Pvt Ltd has developed a humanoid robot called 'DOOT' for this purpose, which can communicate and deliver the impression of a human being with excellent voice recognition, face recognition and gestures.

These robots are likely to be seen campaigning for the Assembly polls next year and according to the company, they are in talks with the respective political parties to deploy these robot campaigners for the state elections next year.

The states that go to the polls in 2022 are Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Gujarat. In the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls in April, a newly-formed political outfit India Makkal Munnetra Katchi (IMMK) introduced a humanoid robot for campaigning for the first time. Called 'Doozy', the four-feet robot was also the party symbol. Now, 'Doot' is ready to serve political parties by reaching out to a limited group of people with their messages amid the pandemic.

"The robot's rover has a large wheelbase, with an all-wheel-drive gearbox, which enables it to move easily even on rough surfaces. Through artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled voice recognition, the humanoid robot will address the public on behalf of the politician," Kumar Kanhaiya Singh, Director, Onestand India, told IANS. Questions and interactions will be reviewed periodically by a team that will have an answer to common queries updated after every review.

Doot is equipped with a custom-made servo motor, which enables the full upper body to bend and raise with ease. It can also twist itself with 140 degrees of freedom, making it the only humanoid in the country to do so.

HD cameras are located in the head of the robot which enables the operator to have a look at the audience and also record the attendees.

"The 4th generation servo motors, which are indigenously manufactured, barely make any noise and are tested to work in hot Indian conditions for long hours without any breakdown or need for servicing," Singh said. The humanoids are built on an aluminum frame with industrial-grade components.

"Due to the pandemic, political leaders are unable to meet even their party workers. These robot campaigners will save a lot of time as multiple humanoids could go at multiple places at the same time," Singh informed.

The humanoid robot has 10 axes (joints), which enables it to shake hands or wave at people. The company had earlier rented out drones to various municipal corporations in Bihar for sanitisation during the first Covid wave.

The humanoids have been developed by Mumbai-based innovator Santosh Haulawale who has partnered with Onestand India. Haulawale earlier created robots for treating Covid-19 patients and assisting healthcare workers. "The introduction of robot campaigners can not only be a novelty factor for Assembly campaigns but also save people from coming in close contacts," said Singh.

Nishant Arora
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