Healthcare, Transport

Heathrow deploys UV-C robots to patrol terminal buildings

A robot with long blue vertical lights in a large toilet
The self-driving UV-C robots patrol the gates, toilets, waiting zones and other areas when they are unoccupied and disinfect the rooms, handrails, handles and furniture using powerful UV-C light to kill bacteria, viruses and other harmful microorganisms.

A TEAM of robots packed with powerful UC-V lighting has joined the fight against the coronavirus at Heathrow Airport. 

The self-driving machines patrol the gates, toilets, waiting zones and other  areas when they are unoccupied and disinfect the rooms, handrails, handles and furniture using powerful UV-C light to kill bacteria, viruses and other harmful microorganisms.

A robot is deployed in each of Heathrow’s five terminals. Each has a network of sensors to detect if human beings are nearby, in which case the UV-C lamps with switch off. 

The manufacturer, Danish firm UVD Robots, describes the technology as ‘a new and powerful weapon against the spread of the coronavirus’.

With ultraviolet light, the Danish robot can disinfect and kill viruses and bacteria autonomously, effectively limiting the spread of coronaviruses without exposing hospital staff to the risk of infection.

Now sold in more than 40 countries, UVD Robots is already delivering its self-driving disinfection robots to hospitals in other parts of Asia in addition to healthcare markets in Europe and the United States. 

The company says the invention increases the safety of both staff, patients and their relatives by reducing the risk of contact with bacteria, viruses and other harmful microorganisms. 

Claus Risager, CEO of parent company Blue Ocean Robotics and chairman of the board of UVD Robots, said: ‘We’re now helping solve one of the biggest problems of our time, preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses with a robot that saves lives in hospitals every day.’

The concentrated UV-C light emitted by the robots as they drive has a germicidal effect that removes virtually all airborne viruses and bacteria on the surfaces of a room. Results, that led to the UVD robot winning the robotics industry’s ‘Oscar’ – IERA Award in 2019.

UVD Robots was founded in 2016 by Blue Ocean Robotics with the objective of global commercialising robotic based UV disinfection for hospitals. It worked with Odense University Hospital and other hospitals in Denmark to develop the first prototype of the UV-disinfection robot, with the objective of preventing Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI’s) for the benefit of patients, hospital staff and associated healthcare costs.

Chinese hospitals were among the first to deploy the automatons.

Units were shipped to the worst-hit parts of the country during the early days of the pandemic. Hospital equipment supplier Sunay Healthcare Supply delivered robots to many of its healthcare customers in all Chinese provinces.