A new study has shown the effectiveness of an unmanned ground vehicle system for monitoring sewers in Taiwan for mosquitoes – and to eradicate the pests.
The robot truck identifies and eliminates the breeding sources of mosquitoes that carry potentially fatal dengue fever in urban areas.
Dengue fever is an infectious disease caused by the dengue virus and spread by several mosquito species which also carry chikungunya, yellow fever and zika.
Sewers have become easy breeding grounds for mosquitoes in towns and cities, and most current mosquito monitoring programs struggle to analyze the density of mosquitoes in hidden areas.
Researchers combined a crawling robot, wire-controlled cable car and real-time monitoring system into an unmanned ground vehicle system (UGV) that can take high-resolution, real-time images of areas within sewers.
The system was deployed from May to August 2018 in five administrative districts in Kaohsiung city, Taiwan, with covered roadside sewer ditches suspected to be mosquito hotspots.
Mosquito gravitraps were placed above the sewers to monitor the effects of the UGV intervention on adult mosquitoes in the area.
In 20.7 percent of inspected sewers, the system found traces of mosquitoes in stages from larvae to adults.
In positive sewers, additional prevention control measures were conducted, using either insecticides or high-temperature water jets.
Immediately after the interventions, the gravitrap index (GI) – a measure of the adult mosquito density nearby – dropped significantly from 0.62 to 0.19.
Wei-Liang Liu, of the Taiwan National Mosquito-Borne Diseases Control Research Centre, said: “The widespread use of UGVs can potentially eliminate some of the breeding sources of vector mosquitoes, thereby reducing the annual prevalence of dengue fever in Kaohsiung city.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Saba Fatima and Newsdesk Manager