Atlas Axillia (Pvt.) Limited, a subsidiary of the Hemas Group, gifted three more fully homegrown Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) robots to Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Director General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medicine recently. Atlas’ AGVs, the first robots to be introduced in the fight against COVID-19 in Sri Lanka, are already in operation at the Base Hospital Homagama and the new treatment facility at Iranawila, dedicated to COVID-19 patients. The latest upgraded robots are earmarked for deployment at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, Colombo, and the Colombo South Teaching Hospital, Kalubowila.

Atlas, Sri Lanka’s leading stationery manufacturer, developed these AGVs for the national fight against COVID-19 in consultation with health ministry officials, in a bid to extend the utmost assistance to ensure the safety of the health care workers. The latest AGV robots have been upgraded with the capability of measuring the temperature of the patient through a thermal sensor and recording it with a time stamp. The recorded data can also be retrieved as individualised reports of each patient’s temperature movements. This further enhances the safety provided for medical personnel as all five AGV robots enable doctors to monitor patients remotely, with inbuilt video conferencing capabilities. These AGVs are also able to carry food and medicine, minimising direct contact between other hospital staff and patients.

Dr. Indika Jagoda, Regional Director of Health Services – Colombo saw value in the technological innovation of the AGV robots and championed its use against the pandemic. “It is truly heartening when a local company steps up at a time of national need and creates innovations without any commercial motivation, simply for the social good it will create. The two AGV robots already deployed at key facilities are fully functional and helping healthcare workers to treat patients, and I am certain the new, improved robots will build on that success and be invaluable in the fight against COVID-19,” he said, speaking on the initiative.

The AGV concept was first developed by the Atlas manufacturing and engineering team as a robotic assistant in the production process at factory, as part of the ecosystem of a larger Artificial Intelligence journey being undertaken by the company. With the outbreak of the pandemic, the team led by Viraj Jayasuriya, COO / Director Operations and comprising of Dayan Harsha (Tech Lead), Vijitha Muthugala (Chief Engineer), Sirantha Chularathne, Anuradha Nuwan, Prasad Niroshana, Eranda Amila, Janaka Lasantha, Nishantha Kumara, Shalika Amarathunga, Gayan Asanka and Kushan Nanayakkara has worked day and night to build multiple robots with advanced features to work as remote medical assistants.

Dr. Dimuth Ponweera, Hospital Director at the Iranawila COVID-19 treatment centre, where the Atlas AGV robot has been deployed, praised the team’s dedication. “The Atlas team led by Viraj Jayasooriya have to be specially mentioned for working tirelessly day and night to get the robot up and running. They have contributed greatly to help us face this great challenge as Sri Lankans.”

The team also helped troubleshoot issues with robotic assistants for COVID-19 built by other innovators, keeping to the promise to extend help to anyone who comes forward to produce more robots.

“For over 60 years, Atlas has been a company that put the national interest at the forefront. We are humbled to be able to contribute to the national cause at a time of need with homegrown innovations that address a vital need to overcome one of the biggest pandemics the world has ever faced,” Asitha Samaraweera, Managing Director, Atlas Axillia stated.

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