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Vicinity Centres pilots robot cleaner

Vicinity Centres is trialling a robot to clean its floors as the shopping centre group looks to “reinvest and redeploy” its cleaning contractors.

Vicinity is currently trialling a Cleanfix automatic cleaning robot at DFO Homebush in Sydney, with the pilot focused on automated night cleaning.

Vicinity, which operates 85 retail centres across the country, is the first to deploy the Cleanfix robot in Australia, which won the Innovation Award at the ISSA/Interclean Expo 2016 in Amsterdam.

Simone Carroll, executive general manager digital and people at Vicinity Centres, told INCLEAN Vicinity is still is the trial stages of investigating the benefits of smart cleaning technology, adding it had seen position results so far.

Cleanfix is a hands-free system that incorporates 11 sensors, giving the robot a 360-degree view of its surroundings, and allowing it to operate and clean autonomously. Advanced navigation and sensors detect obstacles as well as people – stopping to let them pass before proceeding.

The Cleanfix RA 660 Navi is specifically designed for hard floors and is ideal for shopping centres as it scrubs and vacuums independently, reduces the need for chemicals and uses water more efficiently which significantly lowers its impact on the environment.

DFO Homebush. Source: Facebook

“Creating more enjoyable experiences for our customers and our retailers is a key priority for us, and we are always investigating better ways to do this, including introducing smart technologies that can help us deliver consistently high standards across our portfolio,” Carroll said.

“The focus of incorporating this kind of smart cleaning technology in to our centres is to reinvest and redeploy our cleaning contractors in to areas that vastly improve our presentation standards and our customer experiences. This includes key spaces such as our dining precincts, food courts and amenities, especially during peak periods.”

Carroll said Vicinity uses cleaning contractors in its centres across Australia, and has invited them to in-centre demonstrations of the clean tech and will be working with them over coming months to see whether they may adopt this new technology at other retail sites,

“We anticipate that we will introduce other smart technologies to improve the way we manage our national portfolio of centres as part of our overall strategy to become a leader in digital technologies where it drives better customer, business and community outcomes. For example, we are trialling new smart waste systems to significantly reduce landfill at selected centres.”

Another similar trial will begin shortly, using different robotics technology, however, it is unknown if this testing will also take place at DFO Homebush or another Vicinity operated shopping centre.

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