Armed to its “teeth” with sensors, LiDAR, modular fixtures and SLAM intelligence, cleaning robots are getting more versatile and cost-effective

In the area of innovations in robotic process automation, a Singapore tech startup has taken a crack at disrupting the oversaturated market of industrial-grade cleaning robots by offering more device intelligence than ever.

While existing cleaning robots have single or limited in-built functions, Globotix’s FLEXA robot offers more functions and upgradability through modular design. To be launched with a vacuuming module at first, FLEXA cleans with a productivity of 12.38 square feet per second via a cyclone filtration system along with HEPA filters — with sustainability features that make operation more cost-effective.

Employing two 2D LiDARs, six 3D cameras, and eight sonar sensors, the robot uses Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) to navigate around any location with an acute awareness of its surrounding. Additionally, sensors allow the robot to perform system and hardware diagnostics checks, live-stream video, and be controlled remotely.

Operators can designate cleaning zones and prohibited areas based on the SLAM-generated map. From there, FLEXA’s onboard algorithmic navigation program finds optimal cleaning routes between cleaning points while avoiding prohibited areas. Other advances in robotic intelligence can be found in the robot’s battery management system, which allows FLEX to independently return to its wireless charging station for quick energy top-ups.

According to Jonathan Quek, the firm’s founder and CEO: “We wanted to create an industrial-grade cleaning robot that can not only be optimized for multiple tasks like vacuuming and scrubbing, but can also be optimized to accomplish those tasks efficiently.”

FLEXA’s repertoire of functions will soon be increased with modules for buffing, scrubbing, security, disinfection, and building inspection. In future, multiple FLEXA units can also communicate and coordinate with each other.

After passing trials at Changi Airport Terminal 2’s arrival hall, FLEXA is now part of an internal trial program with Changi Airport Group (CAG) at Terminal 4’s transit area until December this year.

Pictured: FLEXA, with the base unit (left) detached from a changeable cleaning module (right)