Cleaning robots have been used in households for years. These small devices have been clearing floors and occasionally surprising pets for a while now. Saving you a few hours per month on vacuuming is just the start. There are plenty of other ways robot cleaner technology will change the world beyond our homes. Let’s take a closer look.
Implementing cleaning robots in corporate settings is a natural evolution of household cleaning devices. Corporate spaces are relatively structured and controlled. Therefore, cleaning robots have fewer obstacles to navigate. Further, innovators have a strong incentive to develop these robots because the commercial cleaning market is estimated to worth over $100 billion in the U.S. alone, according to Marketresearch.com.
Commercial cleaning robots, also known as robot janitors, are already in production. Several of the most popular devices in this category are focused on floor cleaning activities. Brain Corp, based in California, has developed a robot cleaner that can generate its routes and uses LTE connectivity to stay in communication. Purchasing a large robot cleaner may not be a good fit for every company.
There are also some commercial cleaning robots you can rent. In Japan, the Whiz vacuuming robot was first offered for rental in 2019 for 25,000 yen ($222 USD). This cleaning robot needs guidance on the first cleaning route, and then it can operate from memory afterward. Like other floor-based cleaning robots, the Whiz is designed to navigate around obstacles.
Centuries ago, public streets were dirty in many places. The invention of modern sewage and water systems had a transformative effect. However, there is still a long way to go. That’s why robots designed to clean up streets are in development. Over ten years ago, the Dustbot project in Europe showed what is possible for urban cleaning robots.
This new technology made significant breakthroughs, including analyzing odors, navigation and energy-efficient communications. All of these capabilities are vital for street cleaning robots to succeed. Unlike private homes, public areas are filled with a wide variety of movements including people, animals and vehicles. Besides, a cleaning robot cannot assume anything it encounters is waste. That’s why Dustbot’s focus on odor processing is essential. This capability will help cleaning robots detect garbage and distinguish it from other items in public areas like a leaf or tree.
So far, we have looked at robot cleaners that are very similar to consumer models. There is more that robot cleaners can achieve! According to Robotics Business Review, a new generation of robot cleaners is being developed specifically to assist with natural disaster clean up. This development is a potential breakthrough for cleaning technology. In disaster situations, emergency services are usually focused on rescuing people, so clean-up activities are often delayed.
It is challenging for robotics experts to create a robot designed to respond to every situation. That’s why Rapid Airfield Damage Recovery has started by focusing on post-hurricane clean-up activities. Further, this cleaning robot is specialized to clean up a specific type of surface — airfields — rather than serving as a general-purpose robot cleaner.
The U.S. military first deployed the Rapid Airfield Damage Recovery device in 2018 following Hurricane Michael. This early test was a valuable proof of concept because it helped The Air Force Civil Engineering Center restore normal operations quickly. The same technology could be adapted to civilian airports and airfields in the future. By restoring airports to operations rapidly, it will be much easier for disaster relief efforts to deliver required supplies and personnel in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.
Cleaning robots are made up of multiple hardware and software components. In terms of hardware, the most common components include the following:
Cleaning robots are an established technology in the home, and there is every reason to expect them to expand further. In public areas, cleaning robots can clean regardless of infection risks, which makes them excellent for public health emergencies. In disasters, robot cleaners are well suited to get airports cleared off so regular operations can resume. For companies, renting a cleaning robot may be a great way to save money on commercial cleaning expenses.