Robotic vacuum cleaner

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A robot cleaner

A robotic vacuum cleaner, often called a robovac, is an autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner that has intelligent programming and a limited vacuum cleaning system. Some designs use spinning brushes to reach tight corners. Others combine a number of cleaning features (mopping, UV sterilization, etc.) simultaneous to vacuuming, thus rendering the machine into more than just a robot "vacuum" cleaner.

History[edit]

A cleaning robot seen from below
Video of a Roomba operating
Long-exposure photo showing the path taken by a cleaning robot during 45 minutes

The first robot cleaner to be put into production was Electrolux Trilobite by the Swedish household and professional appliances manufacturer, Electrolux. In 1996, one of Electrolux's first versions of the Trilobite vacuum was featured on the BBC's science program, Tomorrow's World.[1]

In 2001, the British technology company Dyson built and demonstrated a robot vacuum known as the DC06. However, due to its high price, it was never released to the market.[2]

In 2002, the American advanced technology company, iRobot launched the Roomba floor vacuuming robot. Initially, iRobot decided to produce 15,000 units and 10,000 more units depending on the success of the launch. The Roomba immediately became a huge consumer sensation. By the Christmas season, iRobot produced 50,000 units to meet the holiday demand. After this success, major specialty retailers as well as more than 4,000 outlets such as Target, Kohl's and Linens 'n Things began to carry the Roomba.[3]

Since 2002, new variations of robotic vacuum cleaners have appeared in the market. For example, the Canadian bObsweep robotic vacuum that both mops and vacuums,[4] or the Neato Robotics XV-11 robotic vacuum, which uses laser-vision rather than the traditional ultrasound based models.[5]

In 2014, Dyson announced its comeback to the robotic vacuum industry with the Dyson 360 Eye. The 360 refers to a 360 degree camera that is mounted on the robot and is supposed to provide a better orientation while cleaning. This is a different approach to navigation and path finding compared to products from Neato Robotics or iRobot. The robot vacuum was scheduled for a Japan-only release in spring 2015 but international launches were expected to follow later in the year.[6]

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