KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — A coronavirus-fighting robot that disinfects Key West International Airport’s interior spaces has a new name.
Florida Keys tourism officials announced the winner Friday of a social media contest to pick the name. Chelsea Atkinsm, of Bat Cave, North Carolina, submitted “R2Key2,” winning a three-night vacation for two in the island chain. The competition, staged in mid-January, reached its 1,000-entry limit in less than six hours.
“While naming the robot is lighthearted in its nature, what we make a priority here in the Keys is protecting the health of our residents and tourists,” said Monroe County Mayor Michelle Coldiron, one of the contest judges and a tourism council board member.
Key West International was among the first U.S. airports to employ one of the unique robots, debuting it in December to augment other cleaning practices.
Standing nearly 6 feet tall, “R2Key2” emits high-intensity ultraviolet UV-C wavelength light designed to remove 99.9% of harmful airborne and surface pathogens including COVID-19. After the airport closes to the public each night, it patrols autonomously for about 2 1/2 hours to disinfect the terminal and other areas.
The naming contest was conceived by the Keys tourism council to increase awareness of the island community’s safety protocols to combat COVID-19, including mandatory masking requirements.
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