Pittsburgh International Airport to become first U.S. airport to utilize autonomous robots with UV light technology
Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) is incorporating a new disinfecting strategy using ultraviolet light—on robots. This partnership with Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Robotics is the first step of an airport-wide strategy to deploy technology solutions and multilayered cleaning processes to enhance the health and safety of the traveling public. The technology is designed to kill microbes in high-traffic areas, increasing cleanliness and helping to restore confidence in traveling.
The airport reports that it is the only one in the U.S. with these specially equipped floor-cleaning machines. Airport officials are looking to incorporate UV disinfecting technology in additional ways, including the sterilizations of handrails on escalators and moving walkways, elevator buttons, and other high-touch areas.
The pandemic’s impact on the aviation industry has been dramatic, with passenger traffic falling more than 90% as social distancing and stay-at-home orders remain in effect. As part of the solution, PIT hopes to speed the industry’s rebound through technology solutions.
“The health and safety of airport staff and the traveling public are always the top priorities,” said Christina Cassotis, Pittsburgh International Airport CEO. “We know that restoring confidence in travel is going to be key to the industry recovery. That’s why we’re partnering with world-leading Pittsburgh technology companies to help develop solutions.”
Developed in conjunction with Pittsburgh firm Carnegie Robotics, Nilfisk’s Liberty SC50 Autonomous Scrubber/Dryer is a commercial-grade, fully autonomous, robotic floor-cleaning machine. The company says it the first and only robot to meet CSA/ANSI C22.2 No. 336-17, certifying it as safe to use among people in public spaces, such as airports and schools. The scrubber leverages adapted military and space-grade technologies that ensure state-of-the-art perception and intelligent navigation. The robot is able to learn its cleaning path to avoid fixed obstacles (like a wall or pillar) and is highly responsive to maneuver around or stop when it encounters unexpected obstacles (a person or suitcase, for example).
What makes the airport’s system unique is the integration of a UVC fixture that emits intense ultraviolet rays on the floor, sanitizing the surface after the scrubber has cleaned it. Hospitals and laboratories have used ultraviolet light as a disinfectant for years, and now Pittsburgh International Airport and Carnegie Robotics are testing that technology to safely treat public spaces in the U.S. airport sector.
“Carnegie Robotics is thrilled to work with the Allegheny County Airport Authority to rapidly test and develop this technology, which was designed to combat healthcare associated infections (HAIs) such as C. Diff., MRSA, and other resistant pathogens in medical facilities,” said Daniel Beaven, Carnegie Robotics CFO. “I can’t overstate the importance of a motivated and competent user-partner to rapidly develop new technology. The Airport Authority has repeatedly demonstrated leadership in this way and we could not be more pleased to be here.”
The airport is currently testing the autonomous scrubbers in the terminals, and officials expect them to be deployed soon as part of the airport’s daily cleaning routines.
For more information, visit www.carnegierobotics.com.