Ava Robotics, the iRobot spinout known for its telepresence robots, is expanding its product portfolio with the introduction of an ultraviolet (UV) disinfection robot for corporate offices, warehouses, and other work spaces. The new robot is an evolution of a research project Ava Robotics conducted with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Greater Boston Food Bank.
Cambridge, Mass.-based Ava Robotics said its new robot disinfects both air and surfaces at a rate of approximately 9,000 square feet per hour, with 99% effectiveness against COVID-19. Ava’s robot features fully autonomous operation and navigation, as well as remote access for facilities managers or other users. It automatically emails reports to managers to confirm areas have been disinfected, and it offers a screen and speakers to relay disinfection-related announcements.
The top of Ava’s mobile telepresence robot has been altered with a new screen and UV light array. The robot uses short-wavelength UV light to kill microorganisms and disrupt their DNA in a process called “ultraviolet germicidal irradiation.” UV light has proven to be effective at killing viruses and bacteria.
Disinfection has become one of the more common applications for robotics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. At press time, there are 40-plus disinfection robots available, most of which were developed within the last year.
The video below shows the prototype version of the UV disinfection robot developed by Ava, the Greater Boston Food Bank and MIT.
“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.”
Ava said its UV disinfection robots will be widely available early on in Q2 2021. Retail Business Services, the services company of leading grocery retail group Ahold Delhaize USA, piloted Ava’s disinfection robots in two of its affiliated distribution centers. Other early customers include 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.
Ava Robotics spun out of iRobot in late 2016, launching its telepresence robot in 2018. The robot was an evolution of the Ava 500 telepresence robot that iRobot introduced in 2013.