Hollywood is Planning to Use Robots to Battle Coronavirus on Set

With the state of the world as it is, killer robots are only to be expected. But this time, they’re good killer robots (probably)! Hollywood is planning to use “germ-zapping robots” against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, with some producers looking into purchasing lab-certified disinfecting robots for film and TV sets as productions resume. The “germ-zapping robots,” which use pulses of UV light to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are already used in hospitals across the globe.

The entertainment industry is likely going to be forever changed after the pandemic. Not just in delays, or the financial losses it is sure to take, but in the way it operates — film and TV sets will still have to work cautiously and establish new guidelines to ensure the health of their crew and cast. One way that they will achieve that: virus-killing robots.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the industry is looking into new ways to meet sanitation standards on their sets. The latest method is one that will likely to be a red flag for anyone who has seen a sci-fi action flick, but is apparently a pretty foolproof way to combat coronavirus. Hollywood is looking into purchasing the”Xenex Germ-Zapping Robot,” a lab-certified disinfecting robot made by San Antonio-based Xenex Disinfection Services, on film and TV sets as they resume production. The robot, which is already used in hospitals around the globe, uses pulses of ultraviolet (UV) light to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. According to testing by the Texas Biomedical Research Institute, the robot was able to deactivate 99.99 percent of the novel coronavirus in two minutes.

Xenex’s robots can be rented on a per-month basis or purchased for roughly $125,000. It’s unclear how many robots would have to be purchased for the many Hollywood productions that operate in the U.S. and overseas, but it would be a sizable investment. At least one production, CBS’ Tom Selleck-starring procedural Blue Bloods, has already shown interest and put one of the robots on hold, while the company has approached major studios and streamers like Netflix, Amazon, and Sony about using the robots. Netflix and Amazon productions have already slowly resumed shooting overseas, but the streaming giants may look into using the robots for their productions in the U.S., which has shown to be far behind other countries in curbing the pandemic’s spread.

The robots don’t require any warm-up or cool-down periods, and can disinfect dozens of rooms each day. They are able to move on their own by following a path in the room they’re in, but since that feature may be an issue with labor unions, such as IATSE, former filmmaker Justin Golding says they’re prepared to work with crewmembers to control them.

As long as they make sure the robots don’t get a mind of their own.

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