Pudu Robotics (普渡科技), a leading domestic delivery robot startup, has announced its foray into commercial cleaning services in Japan, with the launch of two cleaning robotic sweepers.
The Shenzhen-based startup released the new models, CC1 and SH1, at a strategy conference held in Japan on July 27.
Their debut further enriches Pudu’s product line, which used to comprise primarily delivery robots meant for use at restaurants.
Amid an aging population worldwide, many countries, especially developed economies, face an acute shortage of labor. According to UN statistics, in the majority of countries in the world, more than 15% of their populations are 60 and older.
In Japan, which is arguably one of the grayest countries in the world, the percentage of people aged 60 and older is close to 33%.
As such, the cleaning service sector, a traditionally labor-intensive industry, inevitably faces a labor shortage and high staff turnover. This is especially true in Japan, where there is a huge demand for inexpensive yet efficient automated cleaning robots.
Besides, penetration of robots in Japan is high relative to many countries, with numerous types of service robots now being integrated into the everyday life of Japanese residents.
Pudu is one of these brands to make a splash in the Japanese market. Its restaurant delivery robots have been a rising star on the country’s catering scene, via long-term partnerships with Skylark, Panasonic, Kura Sushi and other major catering and cooking equipment brands.
Based on its success in the catering segment, Pudu has acquired technical strengths in low-speed autonomous driving, robotic motor drive and motion control and in turn applied them in commercial cleaning.
The new releases CC1 and SH1 are outgrowth of this effort.
Pudu’s entry into commercial cleaning will set it on course to clash with market incumbents like Gausium (高仙自动化), which has dominated the Chinese market for commercial cleaning.
According to Pudu, CC1 is an all-in-one device capable of scrubbing, sweeping, dusting and vacuuming floors. It autonomously replenishes and discharges waste water, calls for elevator rides, passes through turnstiles and operates across stories.
The robot is agile enough to navigate aisles as narrow as 70 cm. It is able to scale a slope of up to 8° and cross seams as wide as 4 cm in the ground. CC1 can scrub floors of different levels of hardness and textures, including hard floors and carpets. These features make it a fit for various application scenarios.
CC1 has now been applied in use cases including office building, residential home, office space, shopping arcade, hospital, transporatation, retail and factory, among others, says Pudu.
To cope with needs for cleaning hard-to-reach corners that are inaccessible to mobile robots, Pudu has come up with a portable robot mop named SH1 to cover “blind spots” in complex cleaning scenarios.
Compared to portable commercial scrubbers in the market, Pudu says SH1 is lighter and more flexible, capable of cleaning areas around chairs and tables, edges of rooms and areas like furniture like bed or couch.
Pudu claims that the appearance of CC1 and SH1 will considerably bolster efficiency and reduce the workload for cleaners. In addition, the output is more consistent and of higher quality, it adds.