Danish robots fighting coronavirus in China

UVD robots autonomously drive around the hospitals, killing virus with ultraviolet light and only a minimum of human interference. Photo: UVD robots

With the coronavirus crisis raging across most of the globe, China is adopting Danish technology to fight the virus with autonomous robots.

The infectious coronavirus that is currently plaguing countries all over the world has proven difficult to get rid of. That is why there is a need to think unconventionally – and this is what several hospitals in China have now started doing.

Here, Danish robots drive around killing viruses autonomously without having to be controlled by human hands. The robots are made by the Danish company UVD Robots which specialises in disinfection robots for hospitals.

Earlier this year, UVD Robots signed a contract with Sunay Healthcare Supply to purchase the robots for use in Chinese hospitals. Deliveries began as early as February and will continue throughout the spring.

The UVD robots are expected to be operational in potentially more than 2,000 hospitals across China.

Cleanses with light

China was initially the country most severely affected by the infectious coronavirus that originated in Hubei Province and spread to thousands of people before it was finally discovered.

Suddenly, the province’s hospitals were flooded with patients who had become seriously ill with Covid-19 – and it severely affected the hospitals’ staff who were also infected by hospitalised patients.

Now the UVD robots will autonomously drive around the hospitals, killing viruses with ultraviolet light and only a minimum of human interference. The staff can order a cleaning session through an app, after which the robot arrives to irradiate the room with intense UV light which has been proven to kill bacteria and viruses. It typically takes less than 20 minutes.

When the work is done, the robot will notify the staff.

Works against many kinds of infectious diseases

UV rays do not replace normal cleaning but can effectively kill coronavirus as a supplement to the regular cleaning of hospital rooms where Covid-19 affected patients have been treated.

UVD robots are already in use in over 40 countries, where they work to irradiate bacteria and viruses in hospitals so that these do not infect staff and other patients. It is not only coronavirus they fight, but many types of infectious diseases, both viral and bacterial.

The CEO of UVD Robots, Per Juul Nielsen, is pleased to help combat the spread of the virus in China through the company’s solution: “In a severe crisis like this where the world health is threatened, our innovative technology is really proving its worth,” he says.

At Odense Robotics, a cluster organisation serving the rapidly growing robotics industry that is centred around the Danish city of Odense, there is much enthusiasm at the prospect of Danish robots playing a role in the fight against coronavirus.

”Robotics technology has great potential to help combat coronavirus. Autonomous mobile robots make it possible to conduct a range of essential tasks in the healthcare system remotely, safely and quickly. Quite simply, robotics technology has the potential to save lives and make a difference in a range of ways, such as solving logistics challenges and limiting the spread of the virus,” says Mikkel Christoffersen, Cluster Director at Odense Robotics.

The city of Odense has become the centre of a cluster of very successful robotics companies. Several of them have already been sold to foreign companies for billions of Kroner. This is money that has largely been reinvested in the robotics industry in Denmark.

More to come

Some of the robots are industrial robots, while others have been developed to serve different purposes in the healthcare sector, where they can solve tasks that free up resources so that hospital staff can spend more time with patients instead.

We will see more of these kinds of solutions in the coming years, says Mikkel Christoffersen.

“We can expect to see more examples of new robotics solutions emerging that will help the corona crisis, like the mobile robot that distributes hand disinfectant at Odense University Hospital while advising people on how to prevent infection. Research scientists at the University of Southern Denmark can build a robot to take samples from patients to be tested for coronavirus – and they say it could be ready within a matter of weeks, he says.

Coronavirus first appeared in China in late 2019 and has since spread to most of the world. At present, Italy, Spain and the United States are hit particularly hard.

UVD Robots is owned by Blue Ocean Robotics.