Robotic vacuum cleaner

A robot cleaner

A robotic vacuum cleaner, often called a robovac, is an autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner which has intelligent programming and a limited vacuum cleaning system. The original design included manual operation via remote control and a "self-drive" mode which allowed the machine to clean autonomously without human control. Some designs use spinning brushes to reach tight corners. Others include a number of cleaning features (mopping, UV sterilization, etc.) along with the vacuuming.


In 1996, Electrolux introduced the first “Robotic Vacuum Cleaner”. The early robotic vacuum cleaners worked well but had frequent problems with colliding with objects and stopping short of walls and other objects, as well as leaving small areas not cleaned. As a result, the original product failed in the market and was discontinued.[1]

In 2002, iRobot, an American advanced technology company, launched the Roomba.[2] The Roomba was able to change direction when it encountered an obstacle, detect dirty spots on the floor, and detect steep drops to keep it from falling down stairs. It became popular very fast, which then caused other companies to reconsider the idea of a robotic vacuum cleaner.

An advantage using a Robotic Vacuum Cleaner is how quiet it is compared to regular vacuum cleaners. Also, they are more convenient to use due to the fact it can vacuum on its own. Not to mention the size difference, the robotic vacuum can be kept under beds, desks, closets, whereas a regular vacuum cleaner requires a large amount of space. With all positives, negatives follow. One downfall to a robotic vacuum cleaner is that it takes a longer amount of time to vacuum an area due to how small it is. They are also relatively expensive, starting at $50.00 all the way to $1,800.00.[3]

A cleaning robot as seen from below.

The first robot cleaner to be put into production was Electrolux Trilobite by the Swedish household and professional appliances manufacturer, Electrolux. Electrolux was successful in purchasing the model from its inventor, James Dizon. In 1996, one of Electrolux's first versions of the Trilobite vacuum was featured on the BBC's science program, Tomorrow's World.[4]

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.[5]

In 2002, the American advanced technology company, iRobot launched the Roomba floor vacuuming robot. IRobot was founded in 1990 by three roboticist name Colin Angle, Helen Greiner, and Rodney Brooks.[6] The company was originally dedicated to making robots for military and domestic use. The Roomba wasn’t the first robot vacuum, but it was the most successful. Selling up to a million units in 2004. 2005 IRobot created the scooba it’s the opposite of the Roomba as it scrubs hard floors. Something that hasn’t been created before. IRobot wasn’t done their a year later in 2006 they released the dirt dog it cleaned up debris. The company wanted to make doing chores as simple as possible.

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.[7]

Since 2002, new variations of robotic vacuum cleaners have appeared in the market.[8] For example, the Canadian bObsweep robotic vacuum that both mops and vacuums,[9] or the Neato Robotics XV-11 robotic vacuum, which uses laser-vision rather than the traditional ultrasound based models.[10]

In 2014, Dyson announced the release of its new robotic vacuum called Dyson 360 Eye, equipped with a 360-degree camera that is mounted on the top of the robot vacuum cleaner and is supposed to provide a better navigation than other brands. The robot vacuum was scheduled for a Japan-only release in spring 2015 with international launches to follow later in the year.[11] Moreover, Dyson announced that the 360 Eye has twice the suction of any other robot vacuum. Dyson is leading the robotic vacuum market towards the goals of achieving a reliable and capable unit.[12] The company is investing robotics and AI to produce better robot vacuum cleaners in the coming years. It has initiated the establishment of a new campus in the UK[13] which will require a workforce of around 7000 and an investment of £330 million to create a wider research facility in Singapore focusing on “connected technology and intelligent machines.”[14]

iRobot CEO Colin Angle claimed in 2016 that 20% of vacuum cleaners worldwide were robots.[15]

As of 2017 23% of vacuum cleaners were robots.[16]

As of 2018, obstacles such as dog dirt, cables and shoes remain very difficult for robots to navigate around, according to PerceptIn CEO Zhe Zhang.[17]


iRobot: Mopping

The iRobot first premiered with the self-mopping robot, Scooba, in 2005.[18] The robot was made to be a self-regulating mop. The Scooba would go through many different changes through the years.Including the Scooba 450, released in 2014.[19] In 2016 iRobot discontinued the Scooba line in favor of Braava.[20] Braava has a implemented wall charger, it has no sensors and uses cotton swabs to clean instead or brushes.[21] In 2018 the Braava Jet 240 received its own app.[22] Braava sales has risen 65-percent since 2016.[23]

Braava 380T

Braava 380T is a high end model of the late stages of the iRobot. The Braava 380T has the ability to do two options which are, mop and sweep. The device has the efficiency to hold a battery life of up to around 4 hours. iRobot Braava 380T uses an innovative technology called “North Star navigation”. The North Star in this context is a special high tech cube. The cube gives a signal which iRobot uses to position itself in the room. It will know where exactly in the room it is and which part of the floor it has mopped or swept. The manufacturer described it as a GPS system for home robots, which is a great analogy.[24]

Main Features


Top robots can also mopping, for wet cleaning.


The first robovacs used random navigation, that can cause the robot miss itself when cleaning or going back to home (base station to recharge) and you do not exactly know which rooms or spaces has been cleaned (cleaning history). Mapping solves these troubles. The robots can use gyro, camera, radar and laser (laser distance sensor or LDS) guided systems to create a floor plan, that can also permanently stored, for more effiency.

Multiple floor plan feature stores several floor plans, For a multi-story house.

Virtual No-Go Lines

Virtual No-Go lines tell your robot where not to go.

Quick Recharge

Quick recharge lets your robot charge only what it needs, so it finishes the job fast (resume).


D-shape design, can help capture dirt in corners and along walls better some than round robots.


Schedule daily cleaning.


WiFi connection can be used to start and stop your robot from your smatphone, Apple Watch, Amazon Echo, or Google Home.

Software Upgrades

Some robots can be regularly software updated over the air.


Chinese robots have dropped prices, mainly in mapping robots.

See also


  1. "Invention of Robotic Vacuum Cleaners". Vacuum Cleaner History. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  2. "Invention of Robotic Vacuum Cleaners". Vacuum Cleaner History. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  3. "How Robotic Vacuums Work". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  4. "BBC NEWS - Technology - Robot cleaner hits the shops".
  5. Ulanoff, Lance. "Dyson Wants to Build a Robot Vacuum that Can See".
  6. "the history of the roomba".
  7. "How the Roomba Was Realized". 6 October 2003 via
  8. "What Things you must pay attention when buying vacuum cleaner robot" (in German). Retrieved 2017-05-08.
  9. "VIDEO - bObsweep vs Roomba: Battle Of The Robots - Viewpoints Articles". 23 January 2014.
  10. "neato robotics frees people household chores launch - Search results from HighBeam Business".
  11. "Deluxe brand Dyson creates its first robot vacuum, the 360 Eye". 2014-09-04. Retrieved 2015-09-26.
  12. Euro-Pro Operating LLC v. Dyson Inc., 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20558; Sharkninja Operating LLC v. Dyson Inc., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 144842
  15. 20% of All Vacuums are Robots, 2016-11-08. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  16. "You rest, they work. Robovac complete guide".
  17. Bryan Heater (2017-12-06). "PerceptIn has raised $11 million to help robotic vacuums and self-driving cars see". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  18. "History | iRobot". Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  19. "iRobot Invents New Wet Floor Scrubbing System". iRobot MediaKit. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  20. Daily, Investor's Business (2016-03-16). "IRobot Hopes To Clean Up In Floor-Mopping Business | Stock News & Stock Market Analysis - IBD". Investor's Business Daily. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  21. "This robotic mop will clean your home, but not without plenty of help". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  22. "Review: iRobot Braava Jet 240 robot mop". Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  23. Symington), (Steve. "Why iRobot Corporation Stock Is Plummeting Today". Retrieved 2018-03-05.
  24. Bryga, Cameron. "Braava 380T". Home Robot Reviews. Home Robots.
  • Info, History and Reviews of Robotic Vacuums, retrieved 2015-02-20 .

How to Choose Best Robot Vacuum Cleaner?

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