Coimbatore-based computer engineer Karthik Velayutham has built a robot to shop for him as a means to maintain social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic world over. Made using a cardboard box mounted on a four-wheeler wooden platform, it took two days for Karthik Velayutham to create the machine and at a cost of Rs. 3,000. Made with the sole purpose of avoiding any risks of catching the COVID-19 infection due to social interactions, the robot was initially sent out for a test run to a local wine shop to demonstrate how it can be used in a crowded place. The machine has also been used to spread awareness on the need for social distancing to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which has left over four million affected with more than 2,97,000 declared dead around the world. Speaking to the international news agency AFP, Karthik Velayutham states, "I ran my robot to the wine shop as a trial to demonstrate how someone can use it in a crowded place and to create awareness about the importance of social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus. I have tested this device on the streets and it has no problems and goes smoothly, even over speed bumps because I have used a gear motor."

Coronavirus Tamil Nadu | Man sends robot for purchases in shops to maintain social distancing

Karthik Velayutham has shared his inputs on the operations of his robot and says the machine can be controlled using a built-in smartphone from his home and via commands over the internet. While sending out his robot to shops for purchases, he informs the shopkeeper on what he needs through video call with the machine having the capability to carry loads of up to 50 kilograms. Velayutham further says, "The specialty of my robot is that it can be controlled from anywhere in the world. The payment can be done using any mobile wallet or electronic payment system remotely." Hopeful that his robot too will be used to help people after a few minor tweaks, Karthik Velayutham says, "It can be used in hospitals to interact with patients remotely,". He added saying, "It can be used in unlimited ways - for shopping, for police patrolling or even in situations like a fire where it's dangerous for people to go."

Coronavirus Tamil Nadu | Man sends robot for purchases in shops to maintain social distancing