Hundreds of friendly robots that can speak multiple languages and entertain will be seen across Singapore, to help clean the city-state’s hotels, shopping malls and government buildings, reports Asia One.
The devices manufactured by local company LionsBot will be available in 13 different models. Four of the robots, which have oval-shaped heads with lights for eyes, have already got down to work and it is hoped that 300 will be put into service by March next year. LionsBot has signed agreements with six cleaning partners to deploy the robots gradually over the coming months as they are produced. These robots can be rented from S$1,350 a month. Those already in use are in Changi Airport’s new shopping and entertainment complex, an art gallery, a resort and an office building.
The robots speak all four of multi-ethnic Singapore’s official languages — English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil — plus Japanese and Singlish, a local patois that mixes English with words from the myriad local tongues. These robots can scrub, mop, vacuum and sweep autonomously, and that’s not all, they can entertain the passerby by rapping in English. Also, they can share jokes or ask humans to move aside if they are in the way.
“Everybody knows a cleaner that’s always friendly and would remember your name and say hi, so we hope to recreate that,” LionsBot CEO Dylan Ng told AFP. Humans can get a response from the robots by pressing a button called the “heart”, or use an app to ask them how they are feeling or what their hobbies are.
The robots also have a serious purpose: To help plug a labour shortage in the rapidly ageing country of 5.6 million people. Ng stressed the robots were not intended to replace human cleaners, but to act as their assistants.