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Ethiopian signs autonomous disinfecting robot

2021-10-21  Staff Reporter

Ethiopian signs autonomous disinfecting robot
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In a virtual signing ceremony last week, Ethiopian Airlines Group and Aero HygenX executives, inventors of RAY – an autonomous aircraft sanitisation robot – signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) outlining a plan for fleet wide deployment and regional marketing of Aero HygenX’s autonomous UV-C light disinfecting robot. The signing of the MoU marks a first foray into the African market for Aero HygenX, a Canadian technology company taking aviation by storm with its safe, efficient, and chemical free solution designed for aircraft cabins and rail cars.  In this regard, Ethiopian Airlines has become the first African carrier to roll out the new technology that takes aviation safety to the next level. 

It is the intent of the two parties to establish local final assembly capabilities for Aero HygenX’s autonomous UV-C disinfecting robot “RAY”, thus creating local employment opportunities and expediting the rollout of the chemical-free, pathogen-killing solution for Ethiopian Airlines. The MoU further sets out to foster the exchange of expertise and ideas between Aero HygenX and the Ethiopian Airlines Innovation Hub, which leads all innovation activities across airlines. The purpose of the Innovation Hub collaboration is to further optimise the product and determine where else in the re-travel chain, and indeed the wider region, Aero HygenX’s leading disinfection technology can be useful. 

Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines, commenting on the partnership said: “As we emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, aircraft disinfection and safety are top priorities for Ethiopian Airlines. As the fastest-growing African carrier, we feel a deep responsibility to reassure travellers and set an example by investing in sustainable hygiene solutions that will benefit not only our staff and passengers but also the entire region. “Aero HygenX has demonstrated competence and ingenuity with the RAY autonomous disinfecting robot, and we look forward to implementing the solution as soon as possible.”

Ethiopian Airlines is one of the few airlines that have been successful in combating the adverse effects of Covid-19 innovatively and Aero HygenX has come up with a phenomenal technology that enhances biosafety. Ethiopian has been commended by international humanitarian organisations for its commitment to the global fight against the pandemic. In addition to the airlines ‘safety first ‘policy and the increasing number of safety conscious travellers, the MoU signed with HygenX is expected to help it attract more customers and recover quickly. 

In Ottawa, CEO Arash Mahin signed for the Aero HygenX team and was accompanied by the firm’s Executive VP of Business Development Peter Bahraini, as well as Executive VP of Engineering, Kris Rupay. 

“This understanding with Ethiopian Airlines is very exciting for our whole team and we are truly grateful for their trust and support,” commented Mahin. “At Aero HygenX, we want to help aviation get back on its feet as quickly as possible, and for that to happen we must work globally. 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”. 

Aero HygenX was formed in January 2020 by a group of self-proclaimed aviation “geeks” with strong backgrounds in technology and aviation. In March 2020 RAY, the only fully autonomous UV-C disinfecting robot, was introduced to the market and the first production line units were delivered to customers in April 2021. Already, the company has customers across Canada, the USA, the Middle East, and now East Africa. 

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. 

RAY has the ability to disinfect a narrow body aircraft (such as a B737 or A320) in as little as seven minutes and can also be used to treat in lavatories so airlines can fully sanitise aircraft after every flight. Unlike competing disinfection robots, the RAY unit does not require a crewmember to move it through the cabin. Furthermore, RAY can be optimised for various aircraft types and comes equipped with HygenX Stream, a customisable software that records and transmits usage data wirelessly to the cloud, providing valuable system health monitoring and status updates to the operator. 

UV-C light has been used to effectively disinfect food, water, and air for decades. It is proven to destroy the pathogens that cause MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV1, Ebola, and SARS-CoV2 (and other serious viruses).

2021-10-21  Staff Reporter

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