The robot revolution has arrived. Every country is now relying on robotics technology that can mimic human abilities. Singapore is no exception. Being the most advanced country in the world with a world-class public transportation system, it is adopting automation technologies in many industries. SMRT Corporation, Singapore’s premier public transport operator, is the first company in the transportation industry to adopt robotic technology. In February 2021, it deployed 13 robot cleaners to enhance its cleaning efforts at all stations of the Circle Line mass rapid transit (MRT) line.

Why SMRT deployed robot cleaners?
The COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone around the world to heighten the cleaning activities in order to stay from the virus. Being the operator of five MRT lines in Singapore, SMRT Corp needs to look after the cleaning regime at all train station premises.

SMRT deployed the robot cleaners to make it easier to clean all stations for Singaporeans and provide them with a cleaner environment to commute. These robot cleaners can clean two to three times faster than manual cleaning. They have scheduled cleaning times every day and managed by SMRT staff. The operator has trained its staff to operate these robot cleaners and troubleshoot the faults. Some of the staff members can be freed from the cleaning task and perform other important duties. Currently, the company has deployed nine robot cleaners from Avidbots, two from LionsBot, and two from Gaussian Robotics. It is planning to deploy more robot cleaners at the North-South and East-West metro stations.

Mr Lam Sheau Kai, President, SMRT Trains, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has led many to better appreciate the benefits of a high standard of cleanliness and hygiene in public areas. SMRT strives to meet that standard for our commuters by using a two-pronged strategy – leveraging on technology and automation, and to better utilise limited resource thereby optimising cost.”

SMRT starts trials for robot cleaners on September 2020
SMRT started the trial session with robot cleaners in September 2020 after the nationwide circuit breaker was removed. SMRT chose Avidbots, LionsBot, and Gaussian Robotics because their robot cleaners are advanced and have operational and safety features, such as smart panels and ammonia sensors.

SMRT CEO, Neo Kian Hong said: “We have set our core values to be Integrity, Service and Safety, and Excellence. SMRT Trains is committed to providing safe, reliable, and comfortable service for our commuters.”

SMRT CEO further added: “It’s the right time to use automation in cleaning and hygiene management. Using robot cleaners is the best way to maintain a high standard of cleanliness while optimising cost and utilising resources in the right way.”

SMRT is always at the forefront when it comes to leveraging technology for enhancing rail infrastructure and improve computer experience. Besides deploying robot cleaners at the stations of the Circle Line, SMRT is also renewing rail assets like power cables, signalling system, metro trains, asset tracking system, and monitoring system.