Robot Uses UV-C Light to Quickly Disinfect Large Spaces

Researchers at MIT , working with Ava Robotics and the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB), have developed a robotic system that disinfects surfaces and neutralizes aerosolized forms of the coronavirus in large spaces. During test runs at GBFB, the robot drove by pallets and storage aisles at about 0.22 miles per hour. At this speed, the robot could cover a 4,000-square-foot space in GBFB’s warehouse in just 30 minutes. The approach uses a custom UV-C light fixture designed at MIT that is integrated with Ava Robotics’ mobile robot base. UV-C light has proven to be effective at killing viruses and bacteria on surfaces and aerosols but is unsafe for humans to be exposed. The robotic system can map the space and navigate between waypoints and other specified areas. The MIT researchers say that the approach could be useful for autonomous UV disinfection in environments like factories, restaurants, and supermarkets.