Technology

Ahold’s Retail Business Services Leads Testing of UV Disinfection Robot

Ava Robotics’ innovation helps support enhanced cleaning procedures in retailer’s distribution centers
Ava Robotics
Photograph courtesy of Ava Robotics

Ahold Delhaize USA’s Retail Business Services division led the testing of Ava Robotics’ ultraviolet disinfection robot by piloting the innovation in two of its affiliated distribution centers to support enhanced cleaning procedures amid the pandemic.

The robots can also support autonomous UV disinfection in workplace settings such as corporate offices and warehouse. Robot features include applications to disinfect both air and surfaces; a disinfection rate of about 9,000 square feet per hour, with 99% effectiveness against COVID-19; remote access to the robot for facilities managers or other users; emailed reporting; and integration of screens and speakers for disinfection-related announcements.

Chris Lewis, EVP of supply chain for Retail Business Services, said Retail Business Services was “pleased to be the first in the industry to support the testing of this technology."

“2020 was an unprecedented year for grocery retail," Lewis said. "As we delivered an exponential volume of products to grocery stores and their customers to provide the nourishment families need, ensuring the safety of associates in our distribution centers has been a top priority. In addition to other robust health and safety measures, the robots have enabled us to further enhance disinfection procedures at two sites to protect our greatest asset: our people.”

The robots have also been piloted at Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Steelcase, producer of furniture and architectural and technology products for office environments, and Boston City Hall. Ava's UV robots are expected to become widely available and ship in second-quarter 2021.

"With this timely expansion of our technology, we are bringing an intelligent UV disinfection robot with autonomous mobility to a market in great need," said Youssef Saleh, co-founder and CEO of Cambridge, Mass.-based Ava Robotics. "Businesses must make employees, customers—and really anyone coming into their place of work—feel confident that all that can be done to keep them safe and healthy is being done."

Ava’s workplace solutions include Cisco Webex-enabled telepresence robots, which help provide a physical presence for remote team members, consultants, vendors, customers and clients.

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