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Key West Airport Debuts Ultraviolet Disinfection Robot

Uses UV-C light to destroy coronavirus, the autonomous machine can disinfect the entire airport in 2 ½ hours

December 24, 2020

Key West International Airport has rolled out an autonomous coronavirus-fighting robot to patrol its interior spaces after hours. The ultraviolet disinfection robot, developed by UVD Robots, is designed to remove 99.9 percent of pathogens including COVID-19.

The robot, which stands nearly six feet tall and weighs over 300 pounds, can move around the airport autonomously once it has been programmed and “mapped” spaces. There’s a human operator is to ensure people are away from spaces the robot will sanitize and monitors its progress via an electronic smart tablet.

UV-C light is recognized as an effective tool to combat the presence of coronavirus, and has been used in other applications in the airline industry to speed disinfection processes.

The autonomous operation is vital, since the light emitted during the active disinfection cycle is so intense the robot can only be used after hours when people are not present. For further safety, a sensor will shut the light down if a human presence is detected to protect people from UV-C exposure.

For a look at the UVD Robot in operation, click here to see the video.

Key West International Airport is among the first airports in the United States to acquire one of the units that provides non-chemical disinfection, according to a manufacturer’s representative.

“The equipment’s acquisition was motivated by a desire to augment the airport’s other cleanliness and passenger protection practices to safeguard against coronavirus,” said Richard Strickland, director of airports for the Keys’ Monroe County.

The robot can disinfect the entire airport’s interior spaces in approximately two-and-one-half hours, according to airport officials. Airport officials are to continue to utilize other efforts, including manual disinfection and requiring that all personnel and passengers wear masks, to help mitigate spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“Passengers should know that as they travel to Key West International Airport and utilize the facilities here, we’ve made every effort possible against COVID-19 to protect passengers’ safety,” said Strickland. “And now, with the ultraviolet light robot that we have here, we’ll be able to step that up even another notch.”