The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the aviation industry very hard and several airlines around the world are still grappling with the effects of the pandemic. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, many airports were closed for long periods of time. There were fears that the virus would be transmitted quickly by airplanes. Despite the relaxation of air travel restrictions, airlines have put in place a comprehensive screening protocol to ensure passenger safety.
UVeya, a Swiss company, has now developed robots that can use ultraviolet light to protect passenger aircraft from viruses before people board the aircraft. UVeya is conducting pilot tests in Helvetic Airways planes owned by Swiss billionaire Martin Ebner.
The pilot tests determine whether the robots are actually able to kill all viruses in the aircraft using UV light. At the same time, the influence of UV emissions on the interior of the aircraft is being investigated. Before the UV spray robots can be certified as safe for use, all safety concerns must be considered by the robot manufacturer.
Jodoc Elmiger, co-founder of UVeya, says aircraft manufacturers must certify the virus-killing system and they are studying the effects of UV light on the aircraft’s interior upholstery after many such UV disinfections. Elmiger is confident that robotic cleaners can ensure the safety of the airborne population, even if the Covid-19 is still widespread.
UVeya already has three UV spray robots and has tested one of them in a Helvetic aircraft at Zurich Airport. The robot’s UV light, mounted on a crucifix-shaped frame, illuminated the interior of the aircraft in a soft blue light as it walked up the aisle. According to UVeya, the robot can disinfect a single-ship aircraft in just 13 minutes.
If the pilots are successful, UVeya can produce the robots in commercial quantities and we would expect them to have high demand for UV spray robots worldwide.
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