Autonomous systems that patrol & clean tables as potential solution to ease cleaners’ workloads at hawker centres

Especially during peak hours.

Mandy How | March 02, 2023, 11:55 AM

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Singapore will see two new hawker centres in 2023.

The announcement was made by Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, at the ministry's Committee of Supply (COS) debate on Mar. 2, 2023.

The first hawker centre, to be located at Buangkok, consists of 38 stalls and 721 seats, a joint release between Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) and National Environment Agency (NEA) revealed.

It is parked within Sengkang Grand Mall, touted as the first integrated development in northeastern Singapore.

Besides a hawker centre, the development also houses three levels of retail shops, a childcare centre, community club, and 680 residential units.

The second hawker centre will be built at Woodleigh Village, which is near Woodleigh MRT station, with 39 stalls and 725 seats.

It is set to open in the second half of 2023.

Separately, a refreshed Jurong West hawker centre will be unveiled after two years as well, accommodating 39 stalls and 580 seats—slightly larger than before.

However, the 14 market stalls will not make a return.

These two hawker centres will feature high ceilings for better ventilation and spacious seating areas.

25 more hawkers to undergo repairs and redecoration

"Besides these new centres, 25 existing hawker centres, including Holland Village Market and Food Centre and North Bridge Road Market and Food Centre, are also slated for upgrading works this year [...]," Khor continued.

The repairs and redecoration works, carried out every six to eight years, will enable patrons to enjoy their meals in a "pleasant and well-ventilated environment".

Separately, from 2024, Geylang Serai Market and Cheng San Market and Cooked Food Centre will undergo the Hawker Centres Transformation Programme.

This will go beyond repairs and redecoration to include changes to existing infrastructure, extensive re-tiling, reconfiguration of seats, and ventilation enhancements such as new fittings and fans.

Easing the workload of cleaners

Photo via NEA's Facebook page

Furthermore, the Productive Hawker Centres programme will be broadened to include potential Cleaning Process Automation (CPA) solutions.

Examples of such solutions include autonomous systems that patrol and clean tables, as well as transfer used trays and crockery from tray return points to centralised dishwashing areas.

"This helps to address challenges such as ageing cleaners and rising manpower costs," Khor explained.

It also helps to reduce the workloads of cleaners, especially during peak hours.

According to the joint press release, NEA will co-fund up to 80 per cent of the deployment costs for these solutions.

Top image via NEA's Facebook page