Ava Robotics announces the launch of a new autonomous UV light disinfection robot. The robot is designed to operate in malls, corporate campuses, school buildings and other commercial facilities. It can disinfect approximately 9,000 square feet per hour, with 99% effectiveness against COVID-19, according to the company. Ava's UV robots are expected to become widely available and ship in early Q2, 2021.
Ava Robotics is well known for their telepresence robots that have been in the market for several years. The company, based in Cambridge, MA, was founded by former employees of iRobot, and iRobot still holds a minority position in the startup. It emerged from stealth in the spring of 2018 and raised a seed round of $2.9M in 2019.
New Disinfection Robot Borrows Core Technology From Its Sibling
The new disinfection robot borrows the drive base and navigation capabilities of its telepresence sibling, and leverages four UV-C light bulbs to perform the disinfection process. UV-C light is now well accepted as a method of disinfection and control for COVID-19, assuming that the proper light intensity and duration is used during the process. As of press time, there are very few details available from Ava Robotics about the actual light intensity or the length of their disinfection process. The company is claiming a 99% effectiveness against the COVID-19 virus.
The solution is fully autonomous and includes the capability to email cleaning reports to a facility manager at the completion of a cleaning task. Once the facility is mapped, users and managers can schedule or request a cleaning cycle for a specific room or area of the facility. The robot also includes built in speakers and user interface to inform nearby employees that a cleaning cycle is ready to begin.
Industry Tested Solution
Ava Robotics has spent the last 4-6 months testing and validating the solution in the field at actual customer sites. With the pandemic peaking, employees will begin returning to work onsite in offices, creating the demand for automated disinfection services. The Mobile Robot Guide publishes the Disinfection Solutions Buyers Guide which includes recommended products and complete technical specs for all of the leading disinfection solutions that are currently on the market.
Retail Business Services, the services company of leading grocery retail group Ahold Delhaize USA, piloted the new disinfection robot in two of its affiliated distribution centers to support enhanced cleaning procedures during the pandemic.
"2020 was an unprecedented year for grocery retail," said Chris Lewis, executive vice president of Supply Chain for Retail Business Services. "as we delivered an exponential volume of products to grocery stores and their customers to provide the nourishment families need, ensuring the safety of associates in our distribution centers has been a top priority. In addition to other robust health and safety measures, the robots have enabled us to further enhance disinfection procedures at two sites; to protect our greatest asset - our people. We were pleased to be the first in the industry to support the testing of this technology."
The robots have also been piloted at Steelcase and Boston City Hall.
"We initially partnered with Ava when they spun out of iRobot with telepresence robots. And now, with new safety expectations, we're excited to pilot the UV robot in our Boston Worklife space, learning how it might help provide greater peace of mind for our customers and for our employees as they look to return to a safe work environment," said Gale Moutrey, VP/Brand Innovation and Global Communications at Steelcase.
The UV Disinfection Robot is the newest addition to Ava's total workplace solutions. The company plans to continue designing new solutions that match their strategy of automating workplace operations.
"With this timely expansion of our technology, we are bringing an intelligent UV disinfection robot with autonomous mobility to a market in great need," said Youssef Saleh, co-founder and CEO of Ava Robotics. "Businesses must make employees, customers - and really anyone coming into their place of work - feel confident that all that can be done to keep them safe and healthy is being done."