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Robotic Floor Scrubbers Could Help Prevent the Coronavirus Pandemic

Robots have been promised to clean our homes for decades, but costs and technical limitations kept them from delivering on that promise. Now, the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating that drive to automate cleaning and disinfection, including big floor scrubbers that look like small Zambonis driving on ice. Across the country, hospitals and other public venues are snapping up UV robots to wipe down surfaces to eradicate germs, while also speeding up cleaning times. In addition to speeding up cleaning and reducing labor costs, these new robotic devices may help ward off the virus by limiting human contact.

The sweeping robots we’ve tested work by analyzing the environment and automatically adjusting their path to keep them moving over the floor without running into obstacles or tripping over cords. Most models can also be programmed to follow a particular pattern or set of rules, such as avoiding specific rooms or objects. Some can even detect dirtier spots and go back to them more frequently than less-dirty areas.

Most sweeping robots have obstacle and cliff sensors that allow them to avoid dropping off stairs or crashing into corners. The more expensive models, such as our budget pick the Shark AI Ultra 2-in-1, also have wall and wheel sensors to better navigate their environments and improve cleaning efficiency. Wall sensors let robots follow walls and find straight lines to clean, while wheel sensors track the moments a robotic cleaner’s wheels are on the ground to identify turns and analyze distances traveled.

Sweeping robots use a variety of technologies to determine their position and the location of objects, including odometry, infrared imaging, angular momentum and gyroscopic sensing, which combine to give the robot a sense of its position in space and movement over the surface. The more advanced models have an onboard computer that uses this information to calculate the best route between its current position and the desired location.

Some sweeping robots can also be connected to a WiFi network to download software updates, which can improve their navigation and object detection capabilities. It is important to keep in mind that if you do this, you must make sure the robot has a stable connection to your home’s WiFi and will be able to update its software without interruption.

In addition to keeping your robotic vacuum cleaner and mopping robot updated with the latest software, you should also be sure to replace its cleaning pads or mop cloths frequently. Bacteria love moist dark places, so you’ll want to remove the pad or mop cloth and let it dry in a well-ventilated area between uses. You should also empty the dirty water container of your mopping robot and dump out its dustbin when it is full to prevent mildewy buildup inside.

For more tips on how to get the most out of your robot, check out our guide to robot sweeping and the full guide to picking the right robotic cleaner for you. And don’t forget to connect your DEEBOT to your WiFi and download any app-based software updates, as these can greatly improve the performance of your model.

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