Winking robots to be cleaning and rapping on Singapore streets by 2020

by | August 1, 2019

Singapore residents and visitors can expect to see autonomous robots that can sing, rap, wink and crack jokes while cleaning the streets.

At the launch and live demonstration of its rent-a-bot service recently, LionsBot International signed an agreement with four of six existing cleaning partners.

Prospective and current partners can rent the robots on a subscription basis. Two are already in use at National Gallery Singapore and Jewel Changi Airport, with more scheduled to appear at high-profile public sites very soon.


Jewel Changi Airport cleaning

Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore


LionsBot’s partners can eventually choose from 13 different models programmed to scrub, mop, vacuum and sweep across different terrains as well as transport up to 450 kg of cleaning equipment.

These machines can coordinate and clean a given area simultaneously in a group, without the need for human programming – says the manufacturer. They are also claimed to use up to 70 per cent less water compared with their commercial counterparts.

Passers-by can even interact with a cleaning robot by scanning its QR codes, which will allow them to ask the device questions like: “What is your name?” or: “What type of cleaning do you perform?”. The robots can reply back in several languages.

The robots have been developed by husband-and-wife team Dylan Ng and Michelle Seow, and Mohan Rajesh Elara, Singapore University of Technology & Design’s assistant professor with the engineering product development pillar.


LionsBot cleaning robot in Singapore


“Our many years in the industry made us aware of exactly what was needed in a cleaning robot. We tried many existing solutions in the market but did not find the right one,” said Ng who, along with Seow, has also been managing cleaning equipment and chemicals supplier SuperSteamAsia Pacific since 2002.

The business currently has a team of 35 engineers who produce the robots in Singapore, from developing a cloud platform for live mapping data to 3D prototyping. It plans to produce four robots on average each day.

To provide training for cleaners on how to use the robots, the company has set up the LionsBot Training Academy to oversee a six-hour training programme, along with a mobile app that rewards cleaners based on how well they operate and maintain the robots.