The Canadian company Avidbots has developed a cleaning robot called Neo. The one-meter-fifty, five-hundred-pound device can perform its tasks through artificial intelligence (AI).
Avidbots: TV series for robotics interest
Pablo Molina and Faizan Sheikh shared a passion for robots even before their time at the Waterloo School of Engineering (UoE), sparked by TV series such as the Jetsons and the Japanese Jiban shows. After graduation, the two started their own robotics company and in 2014 developed the concept of autonomous cleaning robots for commercial use. They can count on a top-notch team of MIT and UoE graduates for their work.
Neo: Relief from routine work
Developed in 2016, Neo is now in its eighth generation of automated cleaning tasks that can relieve human staff. The device is capable of performing its work without human supervision. Human workers are not to be displaced by this. Rather, by taking over routine tasks, more free space is to be created for other activities. More complex ground treatments, which the device is not yet able to take over, can continue to be reserved for humans.
Artificial intelligence in action
This is made possible by an artificial intelligence that, after initial instruction, completes its tasks with centimeter precision and to the second. In addition, the AI can register temporary or permanent obstacles in its path. It automatically stops in front of people who cross its path during its activities or avoids them. In case of repeated contact with constant blockages, they can also be recorded in a map by the device for independent learning and transmitted to the control center for information.
Crisis as a sales turbo
Since Neo first appeared on the market in 2016, its developers have seen its sales roughly double each year. Since the start of the pandemic, that has turned into increases of up to 100 percent. The Avidbot CEO also blames a change in the perception of the respective management personnel in companies for this. Until recently, it was good manners to outsource all cleaning processes to the cheapest subcontractor, almost automatically. Now, due to the hygienic situation, the upper floors are also increasingly interested in this area.
In general, robots for cleaning are experiencing a steadily growing demand. One of the main selling points is the fact that they are always ready for use at a reasonable cost. Neo costs $50,000 to purchase plus a $300 monthly fee for the software. Alternatively, it can be leased for $2,500 with all services included. But its accurate performance is also a critical factor, especially at critical times. If, for example, cleaning agents require very precise exposure times, the machine can deliver that, human personnel only to a limited extent.