SINGAPORE - Autonomous cleaning robots that can sing, rap, speak in the four official languages here, as well as Singlish, will be deployed around Singapore.
Local robotics firm LionsBot International (LionsBot) announced on Wednesday (July 17) at Gardens by the Bay that they will be building 300 autonomous professional cleaning robots locally.
And as part of a special agreement between LionsBot and six cleaning partners, the robots will be progressively deployed around Singapore from Wednesday through to March 2020.
The robots come in different shapes and sizes.
For example, the LeoBots Family robot is 63cm wide and has the ability to navigate through doorways and tight corridor spaces.
Since the beginning of the year, the company has developed 13 different models of cleaning robots that are able to scrub, mop, vacuum, sweep, shine and even transport cleaning equipment.
The robots can operate indoors and outdoors.
In April last year, LionsBot launched its first two cleaning robots at the National Gallery Singapore and Jewel Changi Airport.
"A lot of my customers had great difficulty finding cleaners as the workers are getting older and it is a tiring job."
"So we thought, what if we could make an autonomous robot cleaner to make it much easier?" said Mr Dylan Ng, who co-founded LionsBot with his wife Michelle Seow and Assistant Professor Mohan Rajesh Elara from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).
Prof Mohan's research expertise in robotics contributed to the development of the autonomous cleaning robots.
So far, the company has invested $5 million, which includes government grants, into developing the robots.
The machines are controlled through a mobile application and are able to communicate in different languages.
While there is no limit to the number of languages it can be programmed to speak, the robots currently speak English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil as well as Japanese.
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon, who was at the event on Wednesday, said: "The government will continue to support the development and deployment of robotics solutions across different industries so as to enable our businesses to enhance productivity, produce better products and services, and stay competitive."
Instead of displacing the cleaning staff from their jobs, Dr Koh said the robots can help ease the workload of cleaning staff and free up time for them to do higher value-added duties such as supervision.
LionsBot is the world's first company to offer cleaning robots on a subscription model, where companies can utilise the bots without having to invest in ownership and maintenance.
Cleaning companies and building owners can rent any of LionsBot's cleaning robots at monthly fees ranging from $1,350 to $2,150.
"I really hope that if we succeed, we can inspire a lot more robotic start-ups... and Singapore will become a hot spot for start-ups in hardware," said Mr Ng.