OSAKA -- Omron has begun global sales of automated carrier robots fitted with ultraviolet lights or disinfectant sprayers that can sanitize hospitals and schools to prevent coronavirus infections, the Japanese company said Friday.
Under partnerships with system integrators in more than 10 countries, Omron sells robots originally designed to transport goods in factories to partners, which add the sterilizing functions and supply the robots to end users. The robots are priced at 6 million to 8 million yen ($56,000 to $74,600) each.
Omron is also developing a product for release in the Japanese market. More than 20 system integrators around the world already market the disinfecting robots or plan to do so.
Industrial autonomous carrier robots are typically used to transport goods in factories and warehouses. Omron's robots automatically create a map of the area via laser scanner, letting them avoid such obstacles as people and boxes. A single controller can work with multiple robots. Thousands of these robots are currently in use globally.
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need to disinfect public places and medical facilities. But this increases the burden on workers handling such tasks and exposes them to the risk of infection. Omron sees repurposing autonomous carrier robots as a way to address such issues.