SoftBank Robotics launches AI-assisted Whiz cleaning robot unit in Singapore

27, Sep. 2019

Artificial intelligence-assisted “Whiz” vacuum-cleaning robots (Photo courtesy of SoftBank Robotics Group)
Artificial intelligence-assisted “Whiz” vacuum-cleaning robots (Photo courtesy of SoftBank Robotics Group)

SINGAPORE, NNA - Japan’s SoftBank Robotics Group Corp. has launched a subsidiary in Singapore to provide its “Whiz” vacuum-cleaning robots as the second overseas supply point for the AI-enabled gadgets, after its sales base in Hong Kong.

The wholly owned unit, SoftBank Robotics Singapore Pte. Ltd., was established in July to sell various service robots and provide after-sales maintenance services, the Singapore subsidiary said in a press release on Wednesday. The unit’s office is located on the seventh floor of High Street Plaza, a commercial facility located in the central Singapore business district of High Plaza.

SoftBank Robotics Group is a holding company that oversees the robotics business in Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group.

Whiz robots have been sold in Hong Kong through a marketing agent. The Singapore subsidiary is Softbank Robotics’ first direct overseas arm to provide Whiz robots. In Singapore, Whiz robots are rented to customers on a fixed-price subscription basis, the statement said. The monthly rental price is 499 Singapore dollars ($361) per unit, along with an inspection and maintenance fee of SG$100 a month.

Whiz is a self-driving vacuum-cleaning robot suited to carpets and hard-surface floors. It can work for four hours on one charging and clean an area of up to 1,500 square meters in three hours, according to the company. It can memorize up to 600 different cleaning routes.

In Japan, Whiz has been utilized mainly for cleaning office buildings and shopping malls, according to Softbank Robotics spokesman Hiroyuki Mizukami. He said similar demand for the robot can be expected in Singapore where the cleaning industry is facing a workforce shortage.

Softbank Robotics will continue to expand Whiz’s sales area in Asia, Mizukami said, adding the company has yet to determine specific countries and areas.