UK business and healthcare sectors have discovered a not-so-secret weapon in the battle to contain Covid-19 and to cope with staff shortages due to self-isolation; robots.
Robotic technology has proved to be a valuable solution to social distancing and other virus containment measures in the UK. This has resulted in a massive upturn in orders for provider, Service Robots (servicerobots.com).
The company reports that its advanced AI-supported models - previously often dismissed as a ‘gimmick’ or marketing ploy – are now being fully optimised for efficient non-human services.
This includes carrying out cleaning work to create a hygienic and virus-free environment for companies who buy or hire them for doing automated food prep tasks.
Robots can also deliver goods, and interact with people, in the absence of self-isolating staff. Or, they can complete often complex tasks to avoid human contact in care and health environments, when the risk of spreading the virus is too big a risk. Robotic and automated technology can also go into places where humans fear to tread.
Tim Warrington from servicerobots.com said, "robots have suddenly become the flavour of the month. With the Covid-19 criteria in place, the demand for robots- including UVC disinfection robots - has outstripped supply.
“Servicerobots.com has been hiring out robots largely for the entertainment industry but we have seen a huge increase in enquiries for the disinfection robots, but also delivery robots for patient care. We simply can’t get hold of enough of the latest models to keep pace with clients who have realised how valuable they are.”
The company is confident that robot hire will now be seen as a credible way to improve service efficiency and standards, not just to provide an impressive technological ‘performance’.
Not least as the technology behind service robots is rapidly advancing, increasing their capabilities and therefore benefits.
Once Covid-19 is under control, the next thing to spread quickly through the UK could well be service robots.