The maker of the Roomba robotic vacuum, iRobot, has found itself embroiled in a privacy row after its chief executive suggested it may begin selling floor plans of customers' homes, derived from the movement data of their autonomous servants. "There's an entire ecosystem of things and services that the smart home can deliver once you have a rich map of the home that the user has allowed to be shared," said Colin Angle, iRobot's boss. That possibility has led to a shift in direction from the company technologically. While all of the housecleaning robots in its range are capable of navigating around a room, only the most advanced machines it makes do so by creating a mental map of the space; its dumber bots simply move almost randomly until they're pretty sure they've covered the whole area. Angle told Reuters that iRobot, which made Roomba compatible with Amazon's Alexa voice assistant in March, could reach a deal to sell its maps to one or more of the Big Three – Amazon, Apple and Google's Alphabet – in the next couple of years.
Jul-25-2017, 12:10:09 GMT