You Can Now See Robot Cleaners At Tampines Round Market & Food Centre


Technology is advancing at an incredulously fast rate, and you don’t have to look far to see why. Apart from smartphones that can do just about anything, there are also flying cars, immersive virtual reality gadgets and now…

Robots that are able to perform the everyday cleaning tasks of a human.

Indeed, the world has come far since the 80s/90s, and one can only wonder about the state of things thirty years from now…

And whether it’ll genuinely be in a better state, or worse.

You Can Now See Robot Cleaners At Tampines Round Market & Food Centre

It seems that cleaners and workers, who perform laborious jobs in facilities such as food centres, could soon be a thing of the past, as apparently…

Robots may be deployed to clean floors, monitor pests and take on other physically-taxing chores.

Image: Screengrab from CNA Video

According to The Straits Times, these robots will also able to perform tasks such as inspecting false ceilings, disinfecting lift panels and gauging the density of mosquitos in the vicinity.

Image: giphy

Well, that’s high-tech indeed.

Apparently several of these techies have already been rolled out at Tampines Round Market and Food Centre, where they are currently undergoing a testing phase.

According to the report, five robots will be deployed at the market – two for floor-cleaning, one for false ceiling inspection, one for disinfecting lift panels and one to map the density of mosquitos.

The false ceiling robot, in particular, will also be utilised to drive pigeons and mynahs away, by transmitting anti-bird sound frequencies.

Should the test prove successful, the robots could be rolled out to other food centres in the future.

National Robotics Programme

The maintenance robots are reportedly developed by engineers from the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), with the National Robotics Programme providing financial backing.

According to SUTD’s Assistant Professor Mohan Rajesh Elara, the robots took roughly two to five months of development before they were allowed to go for testing.

Around 20 full-time engineers from the university are currently working on the project.

Does It Mean That Workers Will Be Cut Off?

With the introduction of these robots, one can’t help but fear for the future of the current cleaners and workers, who tend to be at an age where job-switching opportunities are scarce and limited.


Thankfully, it seems that they will not simply be cut off to make way for these techies.

According to Tampines Town Council, the robots are meant to relieve cleaners and workers of taxing, repetitive tasks, and free them up to take on other higher-value or higher-skilled roles, such as handling the robots and sanitizing as necessary.

It also serves to address manpower shortages.

14 cleaners in the precinct are expected to participate in the pilot and will go through a training period of around one to two weeks to efficiently use the robots.

“Robots will never take over our jobs…” said Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli.


“We will find a use for the robots where it is either dangerous for our workers to go, or (where) it is not a productive way of deploying our labour, at the same time, creating new opportunities.”

Not The First Local Cleaning Models

In 2019, Lionsbot International announced the launch of around 300 robots that can supposedly mob and scrub, “sing and rap” and even make “jokes” at passer-bys.

The cleaning robots are supposedly offered on a subscription model and were deployed by six cleaning partners by March 2020.

Apparently, these robots have also been programmed with “warm personalities”, and are able to work as a team.

They supposedly use up to 70 per cent less water compared to existing cleaning solutions.


And So… What Now?

Well, I guess it’s time to warm up to the notion that technology is advancing…

And it’s advancing at a tremendous rate.

And though we’ve been told not to worry about a robot-centric future, such advancements do get me thinking about the whole concept of Detroit: Become Human…

And whether such games are truly as ‘2D’ as they were previously assumed to be.


But of course, I could just have watched too many Terminator films.

So really, I guess only time will tell.

Read Also: Sembawang Temple Said the Dogs That Died in Fire Weren’t Chained But Were Trapped on the 2nd Floor Instead