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United will use antimicrobial spraying robots on some aircraft

United Airlines is turning to a 100-pound robot in its latest effort to reassure customers that flying during the COVID-19 pandemic is safe.

United intends to use the robot, MicroSonic Solution’s NovaRover, during some of its aircraft’s “deepest cleanings” overnight at 10 U.S. airports.

For months, airlines have turned to electrostatic sprayers, but MicroSonic President Nicholas Federico said its machine is easier to operate, faster and removes any human error.

Federico demonstrated to ABC News how the NovaRover works — explaining how it it only takes about 90 seconds to disinfect the most popular aircraft. He has been working on the machine for four years and originally designed it for cruise ships.


The key feature, he said, is the omnidirectional nozzle that allows it to spray a super fine mist in six directions. A single spray can coat all surfaces within a 12-foot radius, according to the company.

That spray is called the Zoono Microbe Shield. It is an antimicrobial solution intended to create a protective layer on surfaces in order to create “a long-lasting repellent against microbes.” The solution is registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but the company is still working on obtaining EPA approval.