Singapore launches Robotic cleaners that can do the work of 3 humans

SINGAPORE - You may soon see robot cleaners working at offices and malls in Singapore.

While a typical worker would be able to clean 300 square metres of floor area per hour, the robotic cleaner is designed to cover three times the area in the same amount of time, without the need for breaks.

The first robotic cleaners for large-scale cleaning in Asia were launched on Monday at CleanMET Asia Exhibitions 2014 by Ms Grace Fu, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, said the National Environment Agency in a statement.

The robotic cleaners, manufactured by Intellibot Robotics, can perform cleaning tasks such as scrubbing, vacuuming and sweeping without requiring tending by workers. These robots can also be programmed to travel along a planned route, sensing and reacting to obstacles along the way.

With this technology, workers are able to move up the value-chain to take on higher skilled roles such as programming and maintenance of the equipment, while the robots take over the large-scale routine cleaning tasks that typically consume many hours of manual labour.

Clean Solutions Pte Ltd, a local housekeeping solutions provider, is the first local enterprise that has invested in such robotic technology for cleaning services in Singapore and Asia.

Clean Solutions will deploy six Intellibots with the support of SPRING Singapore's Partnership for Capability Transformation (PACT) initiative. Under the PACT initiative, the robots are currently being test-bedded at Changi Airport to determine the best method of implementation of the technology to suit the location context.

The test-bedding at Changi Airport is still ongoing, and at the moment, "it is too early to say where the robots will be deployed yet," said a spokesperson from SPRING Singapore.