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Robots armed with virus-killing UV light could be the cabin cleaning crews of the future

April 01, 2021
3 min read
Robots armed with virus-killing UV light could be the cabin cleaning crews of the future
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Robots armed with ultraviolet light that can kill 99% of bacteria and pathogens, including coronavirus, are being tested on planes as a potential tool to restore passenger confidence.

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A robot that uses ultraviolet light to kill viruses is being tested on Swiss airplanes. (Photo by dnata)

Related: We got an inside look at how Delta is cleaning planes

The robot cleaners come from the smartly-named Swiss startup Uveya and incorporates much of the same technology hospitals use. The high-tech cabin cleaning service uses environmentally-friendly UV-C rays - no chemicals -- to sanitize the air and all surfaces inside an airplane. The robot has lights mounted on a crucifix-shaped frame which provide a soft-blue glow as it moves up the aisle. The entire disinfection process reportedly takes just 13 minutes for single-aisle planes. Larger planes will likely take more time to complete the sanitary sweep.

Enhanced cabin cleaning service was trialled on board the aircraft of Swiss regional carrier Helvetic Airways. (Photo courtesy dnata)

Related: Traveling soon? Here’s how to get a COVID-19 test

The new technology was recently tried out on a regional Swiss carrier Helvetic Airways plane in Switzerland. René Marmet, Chief Operating Officer of Helvetic Airways, said, “By making available our infrastructure and fleet for testing, Helvetic Airways is significantly contributing to the development of a promising and innovative aircraft disinfection solution which aims to make air travel safer going forward.”

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Aircraft companies still have to certify the robots, and it's still unclear what impact the UV light could have on a plane's interior upholstery. But a company official is confident its three prototype robots will clear the trials with flying colors. "We believe this collaboration will help assure aircraft are clean, safe and up to the high-level standards of this industry," said Uveya's Business Development Manager, Tristan Chevignard.

Related: How airlines are working to keep it clean

If they can speed up the turnaround time, it could make the automated technology an enticing option for airlines. More important, the robots could be the answer for airlines looking to reassure travelers it's safe to fly without the fear of catching COVID-19.

Featured image by A robot that uses ultraviolet light to kill viruses is being tested on Swiss airplanes.
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

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740-850
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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
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  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023