Autonomous cleaning bot to start scrubbing public toilets in 2024

11th of December 2023
Autonomous cleaning bot to start scrubbing public toilets in 2024

Due to be deployed in Singapore next year is a robot said to be able to clean a toilet in half the time it takes a human.

The Abluo is the brainchild of Singapore start-up HiveBotics which began working on the project in 2021. The autonomous machine moves around the washroom seeking out stains and areas to clean, guided by sensors that provide a 3D view of its surroundings.

Founders Tuan Dung Nguyen and Rishab Patwari were inspired to build a toilet-cleaning robot when a friend of Patwari's - a cleaning company owner - was forced to clean toilets for himself due to staff shortages.

Nguyen and Patwari were both studying at the National University of Singapore and they took on temporary jobs as cleaners in hotels, shopping centres and at the university to gain insights into toilet cleaning. "It was a very important learning process for us," said Nguyen.

The pair used their experience to improve the tools and software behind their cleaning robot. For example, the Abluo is equipped with a steam spray attachment said to be capable of scrubbing away stains and wads of dried-up toilet paper.

The robot will soon be equipped with an ultraviolet sensor to detect stains that are invisible to the eye. And the HiveBotics team is now working to upgrade the robot to mop floors and flush toilets.

The Abluo will be publicly tested in industrial parks, hospitals, shopping centres and at Singapore's Changi Airport in the second quarter of 2024. This will be the final stage of the robot's development before its commercial launch in July.



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