Detroit Metro Airport Utilizing Disinfecting Robot to Restore Travel Confidence

The McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metro Airport has deployed a disinfecting robot from Pratt Miller Mobility in New Hudson in a move designed to increase confidence in the travel industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Safi disinfecting robot
The McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metro Airport has deployed a disinfecting robot from Pratt Miller Mobility in New Hudson. // Photo by Pratt Miller Mobility

The McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metro Airport has deployed a disinfecting robot from Pratt Miller Mobility in New Hudson in a move designed to increase confidence in the travel industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The robot, called Safi, combines multi-head electrostatic sprayers and autonomous technologies to provide consistent and thorough coverage on surfaces. It features a 16-gallon tank that carries FDA-approved disinfectant materials and is powered by an on-board battery.

While the robot is working, it reports back to a web interface dashboard accessible to facility supervisors informing them of what surfaces were covered, when it was covered, and how much disinfectant was used. This sensor and data analytic capability is a first in the disinfecting industry, according to Pratt Miller.

“Our robot is not intended to take the place of human cleaning crews,” says Simon Dean, vice president of mobility and core engineering at PMM. “It is, however, intended to work in parallel with their efforts that could be better spent cleaning smaller, niche spaces.”

Safi was piloted at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids earlier this year and is scheduled for deployment in Delta terminals at LaGuardia Airport in New York in the coming weeks.

“Safi has been received very well both by the airlines and passengers,” says Jeff Holaly, key account director of ISS, the global facilities services provider for Delta Airlines. “Everybody gets excited when they see Safi, and it brings confidence that they know they’re entering a clean facility.”

According to Pratt Miller, the robot’s combination of electric, autonomous, large electrostatic spray pattern, and connected digital reporting of coverage provides value for airports and facilities including convention centers, big box retailers, manufacturing facilities, casinos, resorts, and stadiums.

“At Pratt Miller, we have a 30-year history of quickly solving complicated problems with smart engineering and cutting-edge technology, and when we saw how COVID-19 was disrupting the travel industry, we were quick to offer our product to airports” Dean says. “Safi is one solution that allows us to safely get back to business and our daily lives.”

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