An autonomous robot may soon be part of the aircraft cleaning process. Ethiopian Airlines Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Aero HygenX outlining a plan for fleetwide deployment and regional marketing of the autonomous UV-C light disinfecting robot: RAY.
A global problem requires a global solution and we’re thrilled that, together with Ethiopian Airlines, we can bring thorough, efficient, and safe pathogen-killing technology to this region.– Arash Mahin, CEO Aero HygenX
RAY uses UV-C light to disinfect the aircraft cabin. In that way it is similar to Honeywell’s UV Cabin System, initially launched as GermFalcon. That product saw some uptake in mid-2020, with multiple trial deals signed.
RAY is different, however, in that it operates autonomously in the cabin. Designed for the transportation industry, RAY is a compact and light-weight autonomous robot which uses motion sensing technology to navigate cramped spaces (such as aircraft cabins) and disinfect surfaces quickly, safely and without the use of harmful chemicals, using UV-C light.
The work can be completed in as little as seven minutes on a single-aisle jet, suggesting the cleaning could happen at every turn without disrupting airline operations.
Aero HygenX launched in January 2020 and introduced RAY to the market just two months later. The first product deliveries began in April 2021, with the company boasting customers in Canada, the USA, the Middle East, and now East Africa.
Beyond just the opportunity to sell the gear in Africa, the MoU highlights the cooperative behavior that many vendors are pursuing with customers, especially in developing markets. The deal will see a local final assembly facility for RAY, creating local employment opportunities and expediting rollout of the chemical-free, pathogen-killing solution for Ethiopian Airlines.
This sort of local support has long been a factor in developing contracts in China. More recently Anuvu (Global Eagle at the time) entered into a similar relationship with Turkish Technic to support its contract to provide in-flight wifi service to Turkish Airlines.
The MoU further sets out to foster exchange of expertise and ideas between Aero HygenX and the Ethiopian Airlines Innovation Hub, which leads all innovation activities across Ethiopian Airlines. The purpose of the Innovation Hub collaboration is to further optimize the product and determine where else in the travel chain, and indeed the wider region, Aero HygenX’s leading disinfection technology can be useful.
Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, is keen on that value proposition, beyond just the immediate health impacts for the company, “With the signing of this MoU, we continue our investment in sustainable hygiene solutions that will benefit not only our staff and passengers, but the entire region. Aero HygenX has developed a phenomenal technology that enhances biosafety onboard – in accordance with our ‘Safety First’ policy – and will help Ethiopian attract more customers for a speed recovery from the pandemic.”
And having locals helping to manufacture and sell the products should prove a boost for the upstart as it seeks to expand its footprint.
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