A group of researchers at MIT has found a new way to keep shared spaces free of coronavirus and pathogens. A new autonomous robot equipped with UVC light is able to disinfect and clean 90% of the coronavirus particles.
The scientists at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory teamed up with Ava robotics to create this robot that is able to disinfect and neutralize virus particles. Though the catch is that prolonged exposure can be dangerous for humans and animals.
The prototype was deployed at the Greater Boston Food Bank’s (GBFB) warehouse. The robot moved through the warehouse at 0.22 miles per hour and was able to cover the entire warehouse (4000 square meters) in just half an hour. It was able to disinfect roughly 90% of the coronavirus particles.
Following the successful test, scientists believe that the robot can easily be used to automatically disinfect public places such as restaurants, supermarkets, schools, factories, etc in a short amount of time. The robot is equipped with a system that is able to map a given space and then move around the area seamlessly.
The team is working on remote operation for the robot to minimize human supervision and further reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Project lead Alyssa Pierson said:
As we drive the robot around the food bank, we are also researching new control policies that will allow the robot to adapt to changes in the environment and ensure all areas receive the proper estimated dosage.
The team is excited to bring the robot in to support the community. For now, they are working on overcoming several challenges so that it can be ready for public use.