The COVID-19 pandemic hit the airline industry very hard, and several airlines across the world are still grappling with the pandemic’s effects. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, many airports were shut down for extended periods. There were fears that the virus was being transmitted rapidly through airplanes. Even with the easing of air travel restrictions, the airlines have put in place an extensive screening protocol to ensure the safety of air passengers.
Now, a Swiss company, UVeya has developed robots capable of using ultraviolet light to screen passenger airplanes clean of viruses before humans board the aircraft. UVeya is conducting pilot trials within aircraft owned by Helvetic Airways, owned by Martin Ebner, a Swiss billionaire.
The pilot trials will establish whether the robots are indeed capable of killing all viruses in the aircraft through UV light. Simultaneously, the impact itself of the UV emission on the aircraft’s interior is also being examined. Before the UV spraying robots can be certified safe for use, all safety concerns must be addressed by the robot’s manufacturer.
UVeya co-founder Jodoc Elmiger says that aircraft manufacturers must certify the virus-killing system, and they are studying the impact of the UV light on the aircraft’s interior upholstery after many such UV disinfection. Elmiger is confident that robot cleaners could assure the flying populace’s safety even with the Covid-19 still prevalent.
UVeya already has three UV spraying robots, and it tested one of them in a Helvetic aircraft in Zurich Airport. The robot’s UV lights, mounted on a crucifix-shaped frame, illuminated the aircraft’s interior in a soft-blue glow as it went up the aisle. UVeya says the robot can disinfect a single-aisled plane in as low as 13 minutes.
If the pilot trials are successful, them UVeya may produce the robots in commercial quantities, and we would expect them to have a high demand for the UV spraying robots globally.
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