USA. In a US airport first, Pittsburgh International Airport is trialling the use of robots to disinfect high traffic areas using ultraviolet light. These robots, and the technology they use, could play a role in restoring passenger confidence in the face of COVID-19, according to the airport company.

Pittsburgh International said it hopes to “speed the industry’s rebound” through technology solutions such as those deployed by Carnegie Robotics’ machines

The airport, which is operated by Allegheny County Airport Authority, has partnered with Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Robotics to use technology in a multi-layered cleaning process.

Pittsburgh, which is the only airport in the US with the specially-equipped floor cleaning machines, said it is looking to incorporate UV disinfecting technology in additional ways. This will include the sterilisation of handrails on escalators and moving walkways, elevator buttons and other high-touch areas.

A closer look at the multi-layered cleaning parts of the new robots

A UVC fixture emits intense ultraviolet rays on the floor, sanitising the surface after the scrubber has cleaned it. Hospitals and laboratories have long used ultraviolet light as a disinfectant.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said: “We appreciate the ongoing partnership with Carnegie Robotics, one of the great organisations which calls our region home. The airport authority is always at the forefront of technologies and, in this case, is using these Carnegie Robotics innovations to protect passengers and staff and enhance the traveller’s experience.”

Pittsburgh International is the first US airport to deploy the new cleaning and sanitising technology

The airport is currently testing the autonomous scrubbers with Carnegie Robotics in the terminals, and officials expect them to be deployed soon as part of the airport’s daily cleaning routines.

Pittsburgh International Airport CEO Christina Cassotis said: “The health and safety of airport staff and the travelling public are always the top priorities. We know that restoring confidence in travel is going to be key to the industry recovery. That’s why we’re partnering with world-leading Pittsburgh technology companies to help develop solutions.”