Warehouse automation provider Fetch Robotics has teamed with two partner organizations to launch an autonomous disinfecting robot that is sanitizing the Albuquerque, New Mexico, airport every night in the ongoing fight against Covid-19.
San Jose, California-based Fetch is known in the logistics sector for building autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) for the warehouse like the the Freight 500, the CartConnect, and the RollerTop. The company has now applied some of those same technologies through a collaboration with the City Of Albuquerque and Build with Robots (BWR), a New Mexico-based developer of industrial robots for the logistics, construction, and entertainment industries.
Together, the partners created the “Breezy One” disinfecting AMR, which decontaminates spaces over 100,000 square feet in 1.5 hours with an environmentally safe disinfectant originally developed by Sandia National Laboratories for the decontamination of chemical and biological agents. After spraying, the disinfected space can be re-entered in as little as two hours with no harmful residue or risk to employees or passengers, the partners said.
Following its deployment at Albuquerque’s airport, the partners plan to deploy Breezy One units for broad deployment across many sectors—from warehouses to event spaces to schools—to help states and businesses reopen their economies, Fetch said.
Fetch’s project is the latest example of robotics providers joining the coronavirus fight by adapting their technology to a new cause. The Danish manufacturer Blue Ocean Robotics recently created the “UVD” bot to assist human cleaning staff in large facilities by cruising the floors while emitting ultraviolet light to kill harmful microorganisms. Chinese retail giant JD.com is also developing robots to prevent the spread of coronavirus by automatically using disinfectant gas and liquid sprayers or ultraviolet lamps.
In the air, drone developer Zipline International Inc. is now running flights for a North Carolina hospital, distributing personal protection equipment (PPE) in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Likewise, other researchers are looking at the use of flying drones to ensure social distancing, conduct temperature checks, spray disinfectants, or deliver medicines.
Breezy One was created to address the challenge of disinfecting public spaces, which typically requires time- and labor-intensive work to scrub both highly visible surfaces like door handles and less-visible areas like the undersides of seats and tables.
The city’s Albuquerque International Sunport has currently deployed four Breezy Ones for disinfection work, swing they spare custodial staff from tactile exposure to both Covid-19 germs and to the harsh chemicals needed to kill the virus. Instead, the staff can focus on providing service and value across the airport rather than spending time on extra sanitization procedures.
According to Fetch, BWR created Breezy One by designing a customized disinfection accessory that fits on top of Fetch’s Freight 100 Commercial Base, which is the same platform used for Fetch’s CartConnect100, RollerTop, HMIShelf, and TagSurveyor products. Because the system is based on Fetch’s cloud software platform, Breezy One leverages Fetch’s mapping, navigation, overhang avoidance, and floor obstacle avoidance. The software also allows users to emotely change the robot’s disinfecting paths, schedules and frequencies as needs change.