Kitchener-Waterloo

Kitchener's Avidbots sees increase in demand for robot floor cleaners

Avidbots in Kitchener develops autonomous floor cleaning robots. The company is expanding its reach thanks to a new deal with DHL, which plans to put the robots into the warehouses they run in 220 countries.

'Frequency of cleaning ... is much higher than before,' Avidbots company president says

Avidbot, a Kitchener company, develops autonomous floor cleaning robots. The company recently expanded its contract with logistics company DHL, which will see the robots go into DHL-run warehouses in more than 200 countries. (DHL-Avidbots promotional video)

A Kitchener company that builds cleaning robots is seeing demand for its product increase during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Avidbots build an autonomous floor cleaning robot called Neo that is used in commercial spaces including malls and airports.

On Monday, the company announced it is expanding its relationship with logistics company DHL to see the robots deployed into warehouses managed by DHL in 220 countries.

The robots use 3D sensors, along with cameras and artificial intelligence to map out the area it needs to clean. It also automatically detects if something is in its way, including boxes or humans.

Faizan Sheikh is CEO and co-founder of Avidbots. He told CBC Business that the pandemic has made people think more about how they clean their spaces.

"There was always a big business case for going autonomous for manual cleaning before, but given the situation with the pandemic demand is doubling and interest is doubling ... in our robots," Sheikh said.

"There's a higher demand [for] cleaning now. People want to be cleaning more. They want to know that the cleaning that's being done is a very high, consistent clean. And the frequency of cleaning that is being demanded is much higher than before."

In a release, Matthias Heutger, the senior vice president and global head of innovation and commercial development for DHL, said the robots will free up staff to do more "value-adding, customer-centric work."

"Floor-cleaning robots, while a simple innovation, reduces up to 80 per cent of labour hours spent cleaning," Heutger said.

with files from Meegan Read

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