Bowling Green State University Adopts Robots to Support Custodians

March 22, 2023

According to Toledo, Ohio, TV station WNWO-TV, Bowling Green State University (BGSU) has invested in a new line of autonomous cleaning robots to help support its custodian staff.

A total of nine brand-new robots—six vacuum cleaners and three floor scrubbers manufactured by ICE Cobotics—are being employed by the university, which is the only school in Ohio currently using this specific technology.

QR codes on walls of the serviced buildings provide the robots with a floor plan to follow. After a staff member uses the robot to scan the code, the robot continues to clean on its own. The robots also have cameras that can detect when things are in its path, to avoid potential obstacles as they clean.

According to the article, these robots have cleaned more than 1.2 million square feet of flooring since they were first rolled out at the university. Right now, the floor scrubbers are only being used in three buildings on campus but could be introduced to more areas soon.

The use of robots isn’t a new concept at BGSU. The school was already using robots to deliver food and beverages to students, cut grass, and paint athletic fields.

“We strive to innovative,” Eric Heilmeier, BGSU director of campus services, told WNWO. “We strive to make sure that we are delivering to our students the highest quality experience that they can experience here on campus.”

Heilmeier stressed that the robots were there to help the custodians, not eliminate them. “None of this is to replace any staff member,” he said. “This is to support staff so our staff can focus on kind of the more interactive, detail-oriented type work. We are helping remove some of the mundane repetitive-style work.”

The robot cleaners have caught on with students, who have gone as far as nicknaming some of the equipment. “Scrubby” tends to the nursing building, and “Fred”—named after the school’s mascot, Freddie Falcon—takes care of the Student Union Building.

To read more about autonomous cleaning robots technology and how to better leverage the data it provides, check out Gain a Competitive Edge With Robotic Cleaning. Read more about the financial arrangement between BGSU and ICE Cobotics on

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