An army of 300 cleaning robots that can sing, rap and speak the four official languages, as well as Singlish, are being deployed around the city.
The first robot started work at National Gallery Singapore in April last year, and another at Jewel Changi Airport when it opened this April, as part of a pilot scheme run by local firm LionsBot International.
The firm said at a launch event yesterday that more robots will be deployed today at the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore and Jewel. The rest will be steadily rolled out until March next year as part of a deal between the firm and six cleaning partners.
LionsBot has developed 13 different models that can scrub, mop, vacuum, sweep, shine and even transport cleaning equipment. They can operate both indoors and outdoors.
Tight spaces are no problem either. The LeoBots Family model is only 63cm wide and can navigate through doors and tight corridors.
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, said: "A lot of my customers had great difficulty finding cleaners. So we thought, what if we could make an autonomous robot cleaner to make it much easier?"
LionsBot has invested $5 million in the project, including government grants. The machines are controlled through a mobile app and can communicate in English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and Japanese, although there is no limit to the number of languages that can be programmed in them. The robots can be rented from $1,350 to $2,150 a month.
Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon said at the launch: "The Government will continue to support... robotics solutions across different industries so as to enable our businesses to enhance productivity... and stay competitive." He added that the robots can ease the workload of cleaners so they can perform higher value-added duties such as supervision.
Mr Ng said: "I really hope that if we succeed, we can inspire a lot more robotic start-ups."