Asda has become the first supermarket in the UK to roll out autonomous cleaning robots helping prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Asda is trialling Tennant Company’s autonomous cleaning robots, which will roam stores while they’re open along predetermined paths, at three stores.
The robots give staff the option of riding them manually and operating them with a conventional steering wheel, or mapping out a route around the store for them to follow.
Using artificial intelligence software from Brain Corp, the robots can sense when someone or something is blocking their path and stop or move around it, allowing them to run autonomously while stores are open.
Brain Corp’s technology is already being used by US giant’s Walmart and Kroger to power hundreds of automated cleaning robots, but Asda is the first major grocer to trial the technology in the UK.
According to Brain Corp, cleaning machines powered by its software have seen usage jump 24 per cent since the start of the pandemic, as keeping stores clean becomes an essential part of daily operations.
“Clean is a new brand value, that’s become very apparent,” Brain Corp told The Grocer.
“Our robots help amplify an organisation’s cleaning capabilities almost immediately because they require no custom infrastructure to deploy.”
A spokesperson from Tennant added: “Not only will these scrubbers be commonplace in grocery stores, but they will become known as a practical and essential part of retail cleaning programmes, especially as cleaning challenges have increased in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.”