Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) in the US has announced that it has started the use of robots with ultraviolet light to disinfect the airport.

The technology is expected to kill the microbes present in high-traffic areas, increase the cleanliness and help in restoring confidence for travellers.

With the adoption of the new technology, it has become the first airport in the US to use ‘specially equipped floor-cleaning machines’.

Due to the ongoing global Covid-19 pandemic, the aviation industry has been significantly impacted. Passenger traffic decreased by over 90% due to the travel restrictions and social distancing rules.

Pittsburgh International Airport CEO Christina Cassotis added: “The health and safety of airport staff and the travelling public are always the top priorities.

“We know that restoring confidence in travel is going to be key to the industry recovery. That’s why we’re partnering with world-leading Pittsburgh technology companies to help develop solutions.”

Developed in combination with Carnegie Robotics, Nilfisk’s Liberty SC50 Autonomous Scrubber / Dryer is a fully autonomous commercial-grade robotic floor-cleaning machine.

The system has integrated the UVC fixture that gives out intense ultraviolet rays, which sanitise the floor after it is cleaned by a scrubber.

UV light has been previously used by hospitals and laboratories to disinfect surfaces.

Carnegie Robotics CFO Daniel Beaven said: “Carnegie Robotics is thrilled to work with the Allegheny County Airport Authority to rapidly test and develop this technology, which was designed to combat healthcare associated infections (HAIs) such as C. Diff., MRSA and other resistant pathogens in medical facilities.

“I can’t overstate the importance of a motivated and competent user-partner to rapidly develop new technology. The Airport Authority has repeatedly demonstrated leadership in this way and we could not be more pleased to be here.”

Currently, PIT, along with Carnegie Robotics, is testing autonomous scrubbers. Officials have stated that they will be deployed as a part of the daily cleaning routines of the airport in the future.

Last month, Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) implemented the latest disinfection technology at Hong Kong International Airport to reduce the risk of the Covid-19 infection spreading amongst passengers and airport staff.