On March 11th of this year, the World Health Organization confirmed that the COVID-19 outbreak had become a global pandemic. The world changed overnight as we grappled with the fear and uncertainties of our new reality. Like many technology companies, we considered how we could use our technology to help in the fight against COVID-19. We know first-hand that robots can have a positive impact on people’s lives by automating the “dull, dirty and dangerous” jobs. With the emergence of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, for many, earning a living has now become dangerous.
We weren’t alone in thinking that robots could be used for good. We received inquiries from the public and private sector about using robots in industries ranging from factories to healthcare to public spaces, and have been doing what we can to support these needs. One of those partners was Prescientx, a company that develops UVC disinfection technology and is located not far from us in Cambridge, ON. The idea of supporting the creation of a local solution for a problem that directly impacts the community many of us live in was very appealing.
At the same time, NGen, the organization leading Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, announced the Disinfection Robot Challenge. As part of the challenge, NGen will co-invest with industry on projects leading to the development of disinfection robots to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Today, NGen announced that Prescientx was selected as one of the companies to receive NGen investment. Prescientx will be using our OTTO AMR platform to mobilize its UVC technology. OTTO, a division of Clearpath, will provide access to all angles and facets of the target space, allowing it to be disinfected without putting sanitization workers at risk of virus exposure or harmful UVC light. Prescientx will use OTTO Fleet Manager to coordinate the safe movement of robots and to provide a record of sanitization. The robot’s working name is Violet, a nod to its core ultraviolet technology.
We’re excited to see this project come to life. We believe in the potential of autonomous mobile robots to make people’s lives better–in many settings and applications. OTTO AMRs are already being used extensively by our customers in manufacturing and warehouses to autonomously move materials. We’ve heard from those same customers that disinfection robots are very much needed to keep workers safe and supply chains moving.
We thank Prescientx for stepping up during these challenging times. Supporting this project and others like it means so much to us, and we’re honoured to be partnering with them to make the world a little less dangerous.
By Ryan Gariepy, Clearpath CTO