How a product is introduced is very critical regarding its acceptance by the public. When the Roomba came into the market it seemed like a benign tool everyone could have in their home to perform a menial chore. It was accepted and the negative connotation people had about robots has gradually diminished. Eventually robots resembling the human form will be part of our everyday lives and companies such as iRobot and Evolution Robotics will be seen as the pioneers who started the road to the assimilation of these products into our lives.
The $74 million purchase will give iRobot a larger share in the automated cleaning product market, but more importantly the company will have access to technology Evolution Robotics is developing.
Robot image courtesy of Shutterstock.
“Evolution Robotics’ products will expand our automated floor care offerings while its technology and intellectual property will bring visual navigation and simultaneous localization and mapping, among other technologies, which could be deployed in future iRobot products to deliver greater customer value,” said Colin Angle, iRobot chairman and CEO.
Evolution has products around its ERSP (Evolution Robotics Software Platform) which provides essential robotic functions such as vision, navigation, path planning and human to robot interaction. The software can be applied by other organization with propriety products that lack or don’t have the necessary software algorithm to implement in robotic functions. It is available for Linux and Windows systems.
ERSP is part of ViPR (visual pattern recognition), vSLAM the first simulation localization and mapping technology and NorthStar an indoor localization solution providing accurate location information in real time.
“I am very excited about Evolution Robotics and iRobot joining together as a formidable force in robotic technology and look forward to my new role as iRobot’s CTO,” said Paolo Pirjanian, CEO of Evolution Robotics.
Although iRobot is famously known for the Roomba the company makes some of the most technically advanced robots in the world. The company has collaborated with NASA in robotic technology for their Mars projects and it has delivered more than 4500 robots for the military and civil defense forces around the world.
These robots provide mission critical service to save the lives of military personnel and search and rescue operations in areas with limited or no possible access to people. The robots designed for military use provide reconnaissance and bomb disposal mission, unmanned underwater missions and robots used to carry heavy payloads for soldiers.
With the new technology iRobot acquires from Evolution it will be possible to create products with better vision, navigation and interaction capabilities in the future. The only profitable section is not the house hold cleaning department; first responder type robot market is expected to reach $1.6 billion by 2018.
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Edited by Rich Steeves