The History of Robot Vacuums

Robot vacuum, I believe everyone has heard of it. Especially after the advancement of technology in the past two years, more and more people have chosen to add a robot vacuum to their homes, hoping to get away from cleaning! Although robot vacuums are new to most people, the robot vacuum industry has a history of more than 20 years.

Birth mass production 1996-2001

Robot vacuums have only been around for about 20 years. The prototype of the world’s first mass-produced robot vacuum appeared in 1996, called “Trilobite” because it resembles an ancient biological trilobite. It was created by the Swedish home appliance giant Electrolux.

However, it was not until 2001 that Trilobite was introduced to the market and became the first mass-produced robot vacuum in history.

Up-and-coming 2002-2004

iRobot began to enter the civilian robot market in 2002, and the subsequent launch of Roomba can be said to be a landmark or milestone event in the development history of robot vacuums.

Unlike Electrolux, which is a vacuum cleaner giant, iRobot is a pure robotics company that has been focusing on the military and security robotics market since its creation in 1990.

Specially invented various types of military, police, rescue, and detection robots for the US government, military, laboratories, and other institutions. The Roomba in 2002 was the first attempt of iRobot to transform into a home.

iRobot was initially expected to produce 10,000 to 15,000 units. As a result, it sold more than 10,000 units directly at the press conference. Feeling a strong and huge market demand, an additional 50,000 units were produced at Christmas of the same year, which were sold out. After the successful wave operation, the explosive stage of the development of the robot vacuum was officially opened.

The success of Roomba’s robot vacuum made iRobot quickly become the market leader. At the same time, it also made other companies see huge market demand. Many companies entered the robot vacuum market and launched robot vacuums of their own brands. In this way, the number of robot vacuums in the world has increased, and on the other hand, multi-party competition can also promote the improvement of quality and technology.

Rapid Development 2004-2008

More and more people use the robot vacuum, and there are also many negative comments and complaints, such as the coquettish positioning of the random cleaning system, which will miss many areas, a big bug.

So iRobot began to launch a robot vacuum with the aid of a lighthouse. The lighthouse can send a signal for the robot vacuum to receive the signal, and then determine the distance between itself and the lighthouse. In this way, the original completely random running is avoided.

However, this method is very particular about the placement of the lighthouse. If the lighthouse is placed well, the cleaning coverage rate is high, but if it is not placed well, it is not much different from the original. Now go to the search for the robot vacuum lighthouse, and you can also see a lot of articles about how to place different types of lighthouses in the past.

Technological Innovation 2008-2010

During this period, many companies began to study planning robot vacuums. From randomness to planning, this kind of awareness can bring breakthroughs in the direction of technology.

In the beginning, I wanted the sweeper to see the layout of the room, and then I could make cleaning less missed. Therefore, its core technology is camera positioning, which uses the camera to scan the surrounding environment, combined with infrared sensors, and navigates through the captured images and certain algorithms.

The camera positioning system is a good solution to the problem of coverage and cleaning rate, but due to the relatively large influence of light, the effect is not good in a dim environment, and the cost is too high to be widely popularized.

Technology replacement 2010-2019

In 2010 in Silicon Valley, California, Giacomo Marini researched and launched a robot vacuum using lidar ranging

Through the laser transmitter and receiver, combined with a series of algorithms, the distance between the obstacle and the fuselage is calculated, and the 3D map is generated. On this basis, planning and cleaning can be said to be the basis for the robot to become intelligent, and it is truly updated. A new technology upgrade.

The Neato robot vacuum cleaner was launched in 2010. It uses a laser rangefinder that can rotate 360 degrees, scans the surrounding environment, locates and builds an environment map (SLAM) in real-time, and plans the cleaning route on the basis of this system. At the same time, it also pioneered the breakpoint memory recovery function. After the battery is automatically returned to charging due to insufficient power, it can continue to clean from the breakpoint returned last time.

After that, all kinds of laser navigation have been relatively advanced in robot vacuums. Navigation planning technology cooperates with various sensors, and it is still the mainstream technology of many robot vacuums.

Latest Technology 2019-2021

At present, the latest planning technology of robot vacuums on the market is mainly high-precision navigation combined with new perception technology, such as Roborock S7 MaxV LiDAR high-precision navigation technology and 3D structured light obstacle avoidance technology, which perform very well.

Robot vacuums are still an emerging industry, and there are still many problems that restrict the development of robot vacuums. For example, some robots are still not intelligent enough in obstacle avoidance, or occasionally they still fail when returning to the base for charging, such as incomplete cleaning or various entanglement issues, etc.

In addition, due to its small size and low power, the cleaning ability of the robot vacuum cannot be compared with that of the vacuum cleaner. If these problems can be successfully solved, the robot vacuum will usher in new development opportunities, and we look forward to the emergence of a robot vacuum that truly frees our hands in the future.

The robot vacuum has begun to usher in a booming era, the prosperity of the Internet, the rise of smart homes, the development of AI technology, etc. With the continuous advancement of technology, it is foreseeable that the future robot vacuum functions will be more comprehensive and powerful, bringing people’s lives to life. Come for more convenience!

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