LAS VEGAS – SoftBank Robotics America and ICE Robotics today announced the North American launch of its Whiz robot, a commercial autonomous vacuum sweeper, at the ISSA Show, a trade show for professionals in the cleaning industry.
The Whiz system was previously deployed in Japan and select markets across Asia, as well as through some pilot programs in North America, the companies said. At the show, SoftBank Robotics said the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and PRIDE Industries were Whiz Robotics-as-a-Service customers. The system is designed to work in locations such as airports, hotels, offices, campuses, and more.
Small design, easy to train
The Whiz, which is powered by Brain Corp’s BrainOS, can record up to 600 cleaning routs, for which staff teach the robot the initial cleaning route on its first use. Routes are stored in Whiz so it can repeat the cleaning route autonomously on its own. Through cloud data visualization, cleaning and status reports on Whiz can be gathered and analyzed, Soft Robotics said.
The system’s small footprint and computer vision-enabled navigation can help Whiz avoid obstacles and get close to walls, while the notification pager can send real-time alerts in case of any unexpected issues. SoftBank said the Whiz can clean areas up to 15,000 square-feet, approximately the size of three basketball courts, for up to three hours on a single battery charge.
ICE Robotics and SoftBank Robotics America jointly developed the Whiz, and have formed a strategic partnership to deliver Whiz to North American customers. ICE Robotics is a newly formed global subsidiary of Intelligent Cleaning Equipment, with the goal of reducing repetitive tasks for cleaning professionals through the use of autonomous cleaning equipment and related technologies.
“We’re pleased to join SoftBank Robotics on their US launch and commercialization of Whiz,” said Mike DeBoer, president of ICE Robotics US. “Both of our companies see robotics and automation as foundational to real innovation that benefits companies, employees, and everyone’s day-to-day life.”
Brian Cobb, the chief innovation officer of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport, said Whiz is a forward-looking innovation that will drive results for the facility. “Already we’re seeing improved productivity and effective digitized asset management,” said Cobb. “Whiz also is helping to bridge the gap between workforce recruitment challenges and the work that needs to be done. Our focus continues to center on exceeding customer expectations while delivering on our brand commitments, which is why we’re expanding our relationship with [SoftBank Robotics] and integrating Whiz as an addition for our staff.”