Roomba maker may share maps of users' homes with Google, Amazon or Apple

The Guardian

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.


Your Roomba could be selling maps of your home to Google, Amazon, and Apple

Mashable

Remember Roomba, the cute robotic vacuum cleaner who's been navigating around your house for years? Well, its creator, iRobot, has hinted it may be selling Roomba-derived maps of your home to one or more of the Big Three -- Amazon, Apple and Google's Alphabet -- in the next couple of years. "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 CEO. If the idea of a device spying on your flooring plan -- along with other data about your home -- and then selling that info to companies to help them improve their targeted ads seems particularly creepy to you, that's because, well, it is creepy. Mapping and space in general is the next big step in the tech industry's big push to make homes "smarter."


Roomba vacuum maker iRobot betting big on the 'smart' home

Daily Mail

The Roomba robotic vacuum has been whizzing across floors for years, but its future may lie more in collecting data than dirt. That data is of the spatial variety: the dimensions of a room as well as distances between sofas, tables, lamps and other home furnishings. To a tech industry eager to push'smart' homes controlled by a variety of Internet-enabled devices, that space is the next frontier. Smart home lighting, thermostats and security cameras are already on the market, but Colin Angle, chief executive of Roomba maker iRobot Corp, says they are still dumb when it comes to understanding their physical environment. He thinks the mapping technology currently guiding top-end Roomba models could change that and is basing the company's strategy on it.


Roomba vacuum maker iRobot betting big on the 'smart' home

#artificialintelligence

That data is of the spatial variety: the dimensions of a room as well as distances between sofas, tables, lamps and other home furnishings. To a tech industry eager to push "smart" homes controlled by a variety of Internet-enabled devices, that space is the next frontier. Smart home lighting, thermostats and security cameras are already on the market, but Colin Angle, chief executive of Roomba maker iRobot Corp (IRBT.O), says they are still dumb when it comes to understanding their physical environment. He thinks the mapping technology currently guiding top-end Roomba models could change that and is basing the company's strategy on it. "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 Angle.


Roomba to Rule the Smart Home

MIT Technology Review

Smart homes are one of those technology ideas that never seem to catch on, despite the efforts of technology heavyweights like Amazon and Google parent Alphabet. Could Roomba, the popular robotic vacuum cleaner, be the missing link that finally makes home automation useful and convenient?