UNM enlists high-tech robot to disinfect the Pit

Technology

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – More than 8,000 fans were back in the Pit Wednesday night to cheer the Lobo men’s basketball team to their first win of the season. That means there were more than 16,000 hands touching everything. So before the next home game, the University of New Mexico wants to make sure everything is all cleaned up by enlisting a high-tech robot to disinfect the Pit and keep fans safe.


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More than 8,500 Lobo fans returned to the Pit to watch the beginning of the Richard Pitino era at UNM. While the night had some sense of normalcy, there were still reminders we are in a pandemic. So after the final buzzer and the celebration of the Lobos 99-92 win over FAU, everyone went home, and “Breezy One” got to work.

“After the game ends our custodian will basically click the go button on the robot and the robot will go around the stadium every night after basketball games,” said UNM Associate Athletic Director, Ryan Berryman.

UNM partnered with a local company Build with Robots to invest in the disinfecting robot. It only takes 30 minutes to cover the entire arena. “It’s extremely effective but also extremely safe, it’s EPA approved and Inlist approved and it’s going to be a lot cleaner and safer than most of the things that are under the kitchen sink,” said Build With Robots Sales Director, Xavier Lemon. 

“In terms of manpower this doesn’t replace any of the custodians that we have they are incredibly valuable to our operation, but the likelihood that they have the time or we have the bodies to spray and disinfect every surface of the Pit is not practical so to have this robot and be able to disinfect those areas that may be hard to reach or would take a lot of time to reach is incredibly valuable,” said Berryman.

Right now, Breezy One is mapped to spray the seating areas and restrooms and the company is working on getting it in the locker rooms and suites. UNM says it was a no-brainer to develop the partnership, hoping more fans continue to pack the Pit. “I think they should feel comfort in knowing that it is a safe facility,” said Berryman.

A lot of the technology was developed at Sandia National Labs. UNM says they worked out an agreement with the company so the robot didn’t cost them anything but do pay for the disinfectant. Another Breezy One robot is used to disinfect and sanitize the Albuquerque Sunport.

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