Ford airport becomes first test site for UV autonomous robot


The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is the first airport in the country to test a new autonomous robot that disinfects using ultraviolet technology.

To further ensure the health and safety of its passengers and guests, the airport also is testing other tools that use UV technology, which works on a molecular level to destroy the microbiology of the virus.

They include a shoe disinfectant mat for guests, a pod that can be used to clean wheelchairs and luggage trolleys and a chamber for personal items such as phones, keys and tablets.

“As we researched holistic solutions to combat the spread of COVID-19, it became evident UV technology has been proven in other industries to kill the virus, so we made the decision to test it at the Ford airport,” said Tim Haizlip, director of maintenance. “As an airport, we’re focused on both innovation and superior guest experience, so this technology could be a natural fit for us.

“We’re looking forward to seeing the results of this new UV technology as yet another method to ensure our guests feel comfortable and secure during their travel through Ford airport.”

The products the Ford airport are testing emit a light spectrum of 254 nanometers, which kills COVID-19 and other viruses such as the common cold. Products currently being tested include:

  • The UVD Robot, which will be used in areas such as baggage claim and the security checkpoint, is the world’s first fully autonomous mobile platform for UV technology. The robot effectively kills 99.99% of bacteria, viruses and fungi or pathogens by emitting concentrated UV-C light onto high-, medium- and low-touch services. Its autonomous nature allows the robot to move without human interaction. It takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to disinfect a room and doesn’t use any chemicals.
  • The UVC Footwear Sanitizing Station, which is the first and only proactive disinfection solution to use a combination of ozone and UV-C light, will allow guests to sanitize their shoes in just eight seconds.
  • A UVC Pod for sanitizing wheelchairs and luggage trolleys allows for quick disinfection so the units can be put back in rotation for guests.
  • A UVC Chamber that will allow guests to disinfect their phones, tablets, keys and other personal items with the help of the airport team.

“UV technology is the most promising disinfection tool to rid surfaces of COVID-19 currently on the market,” said Larry Perez of UVC Experts. “The Ford airport provides a unique testing space due to the many surfaces, light sources and potential obstruction points, such as benches. As we all work to return back to normal, looking at innovative ways to keep everyone safe is going to be critical.”

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