SoftBank Robotics America and ICE Robotics have announced the North American launch of Whiz, an autonomous vacuum sweeper designed for commercial carpet cleaning.
The announcement was made at ISSA Show North America in Las Vegas, an annual event for professionals in the cleaning industry.
Whiz uses Brain Corp’s BrainOS navigation software and can be taught up to 600 cleaning routes. It can send real-time alerts in case of problems, and sends status reports to the cloud for data visualisation and analysis.
What’s more, the mobile robot can clean areas up to 15,000ft2 (1,393m2) for three hours on a single battery charge.
The battery is swapped out whenever a new battery is needed. This can happen whether the dust bag is filled or not, enabling so-called ‘hot swaps’ on the go, with uninterrupted cleaning. A docking station is also provided for the batteries.
Whiz has been available in Asia for the last few months and has been used in extensive trials at US airports, hotels, offices, and academic campuses.
Brady Watkins, head of commercial automation at SoftBank Robotics America, said: “The launch in Japan showed us there was a definite appetite for a product like this.
“We saw that the workforce within commercial cleaning was dwindling and noticed similar patterns for maintaining consistent cleaning services in North America.
“That, combined with automation’s expansion into almost every industry, made us quite confident with launching Whiz in this market.”
SoftBank and ICE Robotics jointly developed Whiz, which SoftBank added to its service robot portfolio last year.
ICE Robotics is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Intelligent Cleaning Equipment, which also offers the RS-26 autonomous scrubber in a robotics-as-a-service model.