Nilfisk autonomous or robotic floor scrubbers are safe | Nilfisk Official Website
February 22, 2023

Can you trust robotic floor scrubbers to be safe?

Self-driving (autonomous) floor scrubbers are popular because they automate this essential daily task and can be implemented easily without significant process changes. Robotic floor care units are already in use at thousands of facilities worldwide as many companies aim to enhance their cleaning consistency and efficiency. But how do you know they are safe? In science fiction terms: Can you trust the robots?

Self-driving floor cleaners that can operate safely in commercial spaces require sophisticated intelligence and technology. Nilfisk has partnered with Brain Corp, an artificial intelligence (AI) software leader that powers the world’s largest fleet of autonomous mobile robots operating in commercial public spaces. Working together, Nilfisk and Brain Corp have combined the high performance of the Liberty SC60 floor scrubber with BrainOS®, a sophisticated AI technology that enables the scrubber to clean an entire facility while safely navigating around objects like people, boxes, and other vehicles.

The robots operate through a unique “teach and repeat” methodology in which operators train the robots by manually operating the unit to create cleaning routes throughout the facility. Then, an operator can send the robotic scrubber into action autonomously, cleaning any combination of pre-selected routes and using an array of on-board sensors and cameras to safely navigate around people and other obstacles.

With no margin for error where safety is concerned, Liberty SC60 with BrainOS is 3rd-party certified to the Robotic Safety standard (CSI/ANSI 336-compliant). Nilfisk is the only cleaning equipment manufacturer to get this certification for its autonomous scrubbers.

Here are other safety features that make the BrainOS-powered Liberty SC60 a machine you can trust:

A specialized sensor and processor suite to perceive and avoid obstacles:

  • Combination of LIDAR, a light-based surveying method, and 3D time-of-flight depth sensors act together to provide a multi-layered set of redundancies
  • Sensor-enabled “safety zone” allows the machine to constantly scan and sense its surrounding environment
  • Machine operates at a max speed of 2.2 mph (1/ms) and adjusts speed as appropriate when operating in obstruction free environments vs highly complex spaces
  • Continuous decision-making process allows machine to stop 3-4 times faster than a human operator
  • Independent microcontroller acts as timing watchdog for the entire safety system

A variety of signals and alerts for safe operation:

  • Visual alerts include turn signals, a flashing warning light on the top of the machine, and a blue start button at the back that illuminates when the machine is in autonomous mode
  • Automated horn provides an audible alert when the machine encounters obstacles or travels around blind corners

Prevention of unauthorized access:

  • Specialized sensors in seat and on steering wheel detect attempts to use the machine while in autonomous mode, triggering an immediate stop
  • Onboard touchscreen is passcode protected – only authorized individuals can initiate robotic use
  • Brightly colored caution straps can be pulled across driver’s seat during autonomous operation
  • Strong software encryption layer provides advanced cybersecurity onboard the machine as well as cloud-based data repositories

And finally, Liberty SC60 users are provided with a detailed training program and access to customer support when learning how to work with an autonomous machine. Upon demonstrating proficiency, trainees are granted a Robot Operator Certificate. In-depth understanding of the machine and its operational abilities ensures that safety is supported and prioritized by both human and robot alike.

We invite you to contact us for a demo of this powerful new technology.

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