LG autonomous UV robot will help sanitize hotels, classrooms next year

LG is perhaps best known for its TVs, home appliances, and some smartphones but it has also started a business of developing robots to automate some business tasks. Those range from guiding travelers going through airports to carrying luggage in hotels. Next year, LG is eyeing a new niche market in a COVID-19-infested world, using tall cylindrical robots to kill harmful substances in high-touch, high-traffic places, particularly hospitality, retail, and even educational establishments.

This year has seen the rise of gadgets and trinkets that advertise some form of sanitation, even if they technically can't kill the COVID-19 coronavirus anyway. The most common one uses UV-C type ultraviolet light to kill harmful microorganisms that could compromise people's health and make them more susceptible to infection. The majority of those come in portable but small forms and large but immobile towers, something LG's CLOi family of robots will soon try to combine.

Some establishments have adopted large UV machines that disinfect large rooms or areas, often before and after operating hours. This, however, still leaves plenty of room during the day for bacteria and microorganisms to latch on to objects and people, not to mention their inability to go around places where UV light doesn't have a direct line of sight.

LG's upcoming autonomous UV robot solves those by giving the machine some wheels and a brain. This allows the robot to go around the room and shine its light on occluded areas without manual control. It can even automatically avoid humans so that they don't get exposed to UV rays.

The still-unnamed LG autonomous UV robot will be unveiled at next year's Digital CES 2021 before being offered to the company's B2B customers. It will be joining the growing army of robots being put to work as humans try to practice physical distancing while still keeping the wheels of the economy turning.