Cleaning Robot

What is a cleaning robot?

A cleaning robot is an autonomous robot that performs cleaning duties in both homes and commercial spaces, such as vacuuming, disinfecting, floor scrubbing, and washing windows. Roomba robotic vacuums from iRobot may have been one of the first, but they are just one solution in a sea of robots optimized to clean both homes and commercial locations. 

The market for cleaning robots is estimated to be about $45 billion globally in 2023 and has been forecast to grow at a modest rate, reaching $46 billion in 2028. This growth in the market for these robots is driven by a host of factors. 

Drivers of growth in cleaning robots

On the consumer side of the equation, improved performance and dropping prices have made robots attractive to busy people who need help keeping their homes spotless. Due to advances in connectivity, automation, and the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT), consumers are more comfortable with appliances that operate independently and can be controlled via a mobile app from anywhere. The set-it-and-forget-it nature of these robots is particularly appealing.

On the commercial side, rising labor costs coupled with general labor shortages have made cleaning offices, schools, corporate campuses, malls, gyms, hospitals, warehouses, hotels, and other locations even more challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the labor issue while putting a spotlight on cleanliness and surface disinfection. Advances in technologies such as sensors, mapping of environments and obstacles, and LiDAR technology that identifies different surface types. At the same time, improvements in AI and safety functionality make these robots safer to work with and around humans.

What are the benefits of using teleoperation?

There is a wide range of benefits for teleoperation, and they include:

  • Increased safety for human workers
  • Ability to explore unknown or dangerous environments
  • Cost-savings
  • Increased productivity

Cleaning robots at work

It’s a dirty world out there, but robots can now help us keep our homes clean. For consumers, these robots perform the following tasks:

  • Vacuuming floors. The Roomba has spawned a host of competitors and today’s models feature self-emptying and WiFi connectivity so owners can control their vacuums from anywhere via a mobile app. 
  • Cleaning swimming pools. Swimming pool cleaning robots are another high-growth segment, forecast to grow to almost a $2.5 billion market globally by 2030. Pool cleaning can be labor intensive, and pool robots enable owners to save money rather than hiring a service and increase the frequency their pools get cleaned with minimal incremental additional cost. 

In the commercial space, robots perform all the same cleaning tasks as in homes, but at a larger scale. Below are some examples of commercial tasks, beyond floors.

  • Disinfection. Commercial robots are at work in healthcare settings where cleaning and disinfection are requirements. UV sanitation techniques and LiDAR technology enable this class of robots to operate independently. The COVID-19 pandemic heightened awareness of surface cleanliness beyond just healthcare settings, leading to a broader range of industries now considering these types of robots. 
  • Exterior window-washing of highrise office buildings. Window-washing robots can crawl up and down the sides of office buildings while an operator monitors everything safely from the ground. 
  • Cleaning industrial spaces. Dedicated robots have been optimized for industrial applications, such as cleaning steel or cleaning warehouse facilities with larger debris volume or under conditions more harsh than a typical commercial floor-cleaning robot is designed to tackle.
  • Cleaning in close quarters. The same wall-climbing technology that drives window-washing robots can also be utilized for cleaning tankstubes, and pipes
  • Exterior ship and vessel cleaning. The marine industry uses robots to clean and blast debris from ships and other vessels, making them more energy efficient while saving human staff from performing hard labor in the water.