Automated hoovers are nothing new, but Victoria Hospital in Fife has just implemented one on a major scale.

Zig – a name chosen by a retiring ward clerk – cleans and polishes the floor autonomously while patients are sleeping at night, meaning not only does it not get in the way of outpatients, but it also means cleaners and porters can get on with other tasks, rather than manually cleaning the floors.

It can automatically sense obstacles, avoiding them just as a more sophisticated drone or autonomous car would use sense and avoid systems to prevent them running into low-hanging branches or flattening pedestrians.

The hospital implemented Zig in February and it’s made a huge impact on the way the hospital is cleaned already.

“It is really exciting for NHS Fife to be at the forefront of this new technology and be a Scottish first,” Midge Rotheram, NHS Fife support services manager said.

“We have been using Zig since February and it has already helped to make our cleaning process more efficient and established itself as a key member of the  nightshift team – results so far have been very positive.”

The hospital is using Intellibot Robotic’s SWINGOBOT 1650 floor cleaning robot, which also uses less water and solution than manual floor cleaners. It also tells its operator when its batteries are running low, its filters need replacing or the tank needs filling.