Toilet-Cleaning Robot Set to Start Scrubbing Public Toilets in Early 2024

Abluo toilet-cleaning robot toilet cleaning public toilets

HiveBotics, a startup developing a toilet-cleaning robot named Abluo, is set to launch its innovative solution to help alleviate the shortage of public toilet cleaners.

Abluo, whose name is Latin for ‘cleanse,’ began development in early 2021 with support from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and JTC Corporation. This support included resources, funds of up to $100,000, and opportunities to commercialize its innovations.

Tuan Dung Nguyen, the co-founder of HiveBotics, was a recent mechanical engineering graduate who embarked on an unusual internship as a toilet cleaner to gain hands-on experience for his mission of creating a robot to clean toilets.

According to the Strait Times, he applied for various cleaning jobs at hospitals, hotels, and the National University of Singapore, learning the efficient ropes of toilet cleaning, including the use of protective equipment and the right chemicals.

Eventually, he worked solo, facing demanding situations, especially when dealing with messy toilets left overnight. Nguyen observed that cleaning challenges increased in busy areas like malls, where he often found clumps of toilet paper in the morning.


He soon realized that many cleaners, especially seniors, find toilet cleaning exhausting.

The toilet-cleaning robot is designed to autonomously move around toilets, utilizing sensors for a 3D view of its surroundings. It features a swiveling arm that can pick up various implements, such as brushes and a steam spray attachment, to efficiently clean stains and bacteria, even in challenging areas. The goal is to reduce the time human cleaners spend on toilet cleaning tasks, allowing them to focus on other responsibilities. However, human oversight may still be necessary.

The team behind Abluo, currently undergoing trials in different settings, including industrial parks, hospitals, malls, and the airport, gained valuable insights during their work attachments with cleaning service providers at NUS, malls, and hotels between January and September 2023. Over time, they tackled several challenges with the robot, such as improving its ability to scrub away stains by attaching a steam spray. They also simulated challenging cleaning scenarios using a mixture of miso paste, yeast, and other ingredients to create a substance that mimics real-world conditions.

HiveBotics hopes to upgrade Abluo to perform additional tasks, such as mopping floors and flushing toilets.

The public testing phase is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2024, with a commercial launch planned for July 2024.

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