Zaandam, the Netherlands, August 14, 2020 – Ahold Delhaize announces today that it has selected Fybots and Adlatus Robotics as the winners of the company’s first-ever Cleaning Bot Challenge, a global competition to scout and select smart technology solutions to perform cleaning tasks in stores.
More than 380 companies were initially scouted for the challenge, with nine reaching the finals of the event. From all over the world the finalists pitched their solutions in two tracks. In the first track, contestants pitched directly applicable cleaning solutions. The winner of that track, Fybots, was selected because of the flexibility of their autonomous solution. They are now invited to conduct in-store pilots at one of Ahold Delhaize’s local brands.
The second track focused on promising future technologies that can be co-developed. Adlatus won this track on the strength of the company’s technical capability. They will now explore a partnership with Ahold Delhaize’s AIRLab to co-develop new applications for their robotics technology.
The challenge underscores the ambition of Ahold Delhaize to help create the future of retail, supported by technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and robotics.
“Smart technology, such as Artificial Intelligence and robotics, offers countless possibilities for the retail industry, the consumer, and society at large,’’ said Frans Muller President and CEO of Ahold Delhaize. ‘’With this challenge, we wanted to further develop our ongoing initiatives and explore how our great local brands and support offices can use this technology to better support associates as they serve customers. I was impressed by the quality of the pitches and the innovation behind the solutions.’’
He added, “A clean environment for associates and customers is now more important than ever. Cleaning tasks are often physically demanding and include many repetitive tasks. Increased cleaning cycles, due to COVID-19, have put teams under a lot of pressure. Robotics can help these associates. By reducing their time spent on repetitive cleaning, associates can focus more on customers, where they can make an even greater difference.’’
About AIRLab Delft
AIRLab Delft is the joint industry lab of Ahold Delhaize and the TU Delft, driving innovations at the intersection of retail, AI and robotics. It recently opened a test site where researchers – supported by RoboValley and tech incubator YES!Delft – can work with partners, students, startups and other companies to build and test prototypes of robotic solutions, and study ethical implications of such solutions.