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Vancouver entrepreneur develops high-rise window-cleaning robot (VIDEO)

Think of it as a Roomba for skyscrapers.

A Vancouver innovator is hoping to shake up the world of window cleaning.

Hossein Kamali has developed a first-of-its-kind robot that can rappel buildings faster and safer than humans.

The invention has earned the entrepreneur an award from Mitacs, a national organization that helps solve business challenges with research from academic institutions.

The patent-pending robot combines AI, robotics, and motion control technology. It can operate on any surface structure and works three to four times faster than a person. The device can also withstand wind and cold temperatures.

"We are making the industry safer and more efficient and more productive for the business owners in this field," explains Kamali.

Kamali partnered with Mohammad Dabiri in 2019 and launched Autonopia. The company works to minimize human risk in skyscraper window cleaning while reducing reliance on dangerous manual labour, which can often be hard to attract and retain.

The idea for a window-washing robot came after Dabiri witnessed a traumatic incident while working in a high-rise building in Malaysia. 

"I was working in a high-rise back in Kuala Lumpur, which is a city full of high-rises, and there was a gentleman who was cleaning the windows and he fell from the 10th floor. A man lost his life just so the windows are cleaner for a few weeks, which is a very unfair trade," says Dabiri.

Autonopia’s robot will begin its first pilot project early next year. In the meantime, the company is looking to secure funding from investors this summer.