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Even as vaccines begin to be distributed worldwide, governments and businesses are grappling with public safety and shutdowns in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. LG Electronics Inc. announced that it has developed an autonomous robot that will use ultraviolet light to disinfect high-touch, high-traffic areas. LG Business Solutions plans to offer the disinfection robot to U.S. hospitality, education, corporate, retail, restaurant, and transportation customers in early 2021.
This is the first in a series of new LG CLOi autonomous robots planned for introduction in the U.S. next year. The company previously presented CLOi as a restaurant service robot at CES 2020.
“We hope LG’s first UV-disseminating robot will give our customers, and in turn their customers, peace of mind,” stated Michael Kosla, vice president at LG Business Solutions USA. “Whether it’s hotel guests, students in classrooms or patrons of restaurants and other businesses, they can rest assured that the LG autonomous UV robot will help reduce their exposure to harmful bacteria and germs.”
Seoul, South Korea-based LG Electronics is said it is applying its understanding of customer needs to the development of a UV-C disinfection robot. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based LG Electronics USA Inc. is the North American subsidiary of the $53 billion global company.
The LG Electronics USA Business Solutions division serves commercial display customers in the U.S. lodging and hospitality, digital signage, systems integration, healthcare, education, government, and industrial markets. The business-to-business unit has a dedicated engineering and customer support team and is based in Lincolnshire, Ill.
LG Electronics robot designed for ease of use
To be officially unveiled at Digital CES 2021, LG’s new autonomous mobile robot (AMR) is intended to be able to move easily around tables, chairs, and other furniture. The company said it will generally irradiate a room’s touchable surfaces in 15 to 30 minutes, disinfecting multiple areas on a single battery charge.
LG noted that UV-C covers wavelength spectrum between 100 and 280nm. Actual disinfecting time will be based on room size.
Engineered to be easy to operate, the robot can be integrated into established cleaning routines without requiring extensive staff training or specialists to operate it, claimed LG. Staffers will be able to monitor progress via remote updates to smartphones or tablets. Employee exposure to UV rays will be minimized through a built-in safety lock activated by sensors detecting human motion, the pressing of an emergency stop button, or via the mobile application. The motion-detection sensors are effective up to a 16-ft. radius, said the company.
“A higher level of disinfection is going to become the new customer expectation in the new contactless economy where we now all live, work, learn and play,” Kosla said. “LG is bringing to bear its expertise in robotics, artificial intelligence, and autonomous vehicles for creative solutions like this to meet specific customer requirements.”
More disinfection robots emerge
From academic projects to commercial rollouts, developers have responded to the novel coronavirus crisis with robots for disinfection, delivery, and remote health monitoring.
For instance, Sberbank‘s Robotics Lab last week announced that its STK unit is producing UV robots that are already in use at its offices in Russia and will be supplied internationally by partner National Computer Corporation Middle East.
Akara Robotics Ltd., a spinoff of Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, said its Violet disinfection robot has a 90% to 99% success rate in eliminating pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, influenza, and MRSA.
UVD Robots won a European Commission contract to supply 200 disinfection robots in more than 10 countries. One of the Odense, Denmark-based firm’s systems recently began operating in he Key West International Airport.
In addition, aerial drone provider Draganfly Inc. today said that it is working with Varigard on a sanitizing spray to be applied in Alabama State University’s (ASU) stadiums. ASU was already using Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based Draganfly’s Vital Intelligence Smart Vital Assessment Station and Vital Sign Screening technology.