SRT insists 96.3 million baht robots are worth the dosh

The Thai public demanded clarification regarding the benefits and quality of the UV-C light disinfection robots after the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) splashed 96.3 million baht on the equipment. Many have claimed that they have yet to witness the costly robots in operation despite the SRT’s purchase of them.

According to a report from the Public Relations Department of the SRT, the UV-C light disinfection robots are frequently used, but primarily during the night when train stations are unoccupied, due to the potential harm the intense UV-C light could cause to humans.

Furthermore, the department emphasized that the purchasing process was conducted with complete transparency and that no corruption was involved. The decision to procure the robots was made in 2021 during the height of the pandemic, as both officers and passengers needed protection while avoiding travel.

The procurement process involved a transparent bidding process, which was won by a robot company. The company supplied 20 UV-C light disinfection robots, as well as two years of maintenance and training for SRT staff, for a total price of 96.25 million baht.

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Twenty robots were distributed across seven train stations: four at Hua Lamphong Station, five at Bangkok Apiwat Station, three at the SRT office, and two each at Chiang Mao, Nong Khai, Ubon Ratchathani, and Hard Yai.

The SRT claims that the robots are effective and worth the price, as they are capable of disinfecting DNA and RNA of micro-sized bacteria, germs, or viruses using UV-C light. Additionally, the robots can travel autonomously and have an artificial intelligence processing system to stop immediately after detecting a human within a five-meter radius.

The SRT also included several tests from different organisations to prove the robots’ effectiveness.

Channel 7 recently investigated the SRT’s use of UV-C light disinfection robots, which produced contrasting results to the report issued by the SRT’s Public Relations Department.

The channel interviewed several SRT staff members at various train stations, who claimed that they rarely utilized the robots out of concern for people’s safety, as the UV-C light from the robots could pose a health risk. Additionally, they stated that the robots were complicated to operate.

Furthermore, Channel 7 aired a video that demonstrated a robot failing to detect and stop, despite people standing nearby.

The SRT has yet to respond to the Channel 7 report, and it is anticipated that the public will continue to demand clarification regarding the effective use of the UV-C light disinfection robots.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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