Companies looking to give their premises a good scrub may want to consider renting cleaning robots. Singapore firm LionsBot International unveiled plans to produce these robots and offer them for rental at a recently held event to launch the company.
The company's Co-founder Dylan Ng said production is expected to begin next year, with 100 robots to be deployed in Singapore from April 2019 and 200 worldwide by end-2019.
The first 100 will be rented by local cleaning contractors Chye Thiam Maintenance and Absolute Maintenance Services and might pop up in places including Changi Airport and the Esplanade. Businesses from countries such as Australia and Japan have also indicated interest in the products, which has cost $1.2 million to develop over the past seven months, said Ng, who founded LionsBot with his wife Michelle Seow and Assistant Professor Mohan Rajesh Elara from the Singapore University of Technology and Design.
It is uncommon to rent and not sell robots, Dr Mohan noted. "The norm is to sell a (machine) costing $55,000 to $85,000, to a customer," he said. In comparison, LionsBot's LeoBot Scrub may be rented from $1,200 per month, which will cover its maintenance as well.
At the event, LionsBot introduced the special features of their robots. Current robots on the market, Dr. Mohan told The Straits Times, tend to be large and are unable to work in teams. They typically measure about 1.4m, unlike LionsBot's machines, which are about half this length and thus able to enter doors in offices. While cleaning robots generally have to be individually "taught" the layouts of premises before they start cleaning, which is time-consuming when multiple robots are deployed, Dr Mohan said LionsBot's machines need to do this only once - as they can share their maps across different robot models. The machines can also communicate while carrying out tasks, to avoid bumping into each other and maximise efficiency in cleaning, said Dr Mohan. "Typically, there are no such multi-robot systems on the market," Dr Mohan concluded.