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iRobot partners with Google on smart home venture

iRobot partners with Google on smart home venture
Smart vacuum maker iRobot has announced a collaboration with Google, allowing Google’s smart home platform to leverage the home mapping data collected by the smart vacuum.

iRobot’s latest vacuum model, the Roomba i7+, is able to map out the space composition of a home using the odometry data based on how far the robot wheels have moved and low-resolution camera imagery. Users can manually label the functionality of the room, and tell Roomba i7+ which room to be cleaned at a specific time.
With the Google Assistant integration, homeowners can just say “Ok Google, tell Roomba to clean the kitchen.”
The two companies also want to use the data for other smart home devices. For example, it can locate smart lighting devices and assign each light around the house with a name and location information.

When a home robot is added in the future, it will know where the kitchen and the refrigerator is and grab a bottle of beer for homeowners when they are watching sport games.
“We think a thoughtful home has context, and that is something that iRobot has done an exceptional job on,” said Michelle Turner, director of smart home ecosystem at Google, to The Verge. The collaboration aims to fulfill the user’s needs before they even ask, said the two companies.
While Google is known to make money with its ad-targeting business, the company did say the data collected by iRobot won’t be used in this area.
iRobot Roomba i7+ is the company’s first vacuum that can create low-resolution maps of user’s homes. By working with Google, iRobot hopes to “explore how robotic technologies can help to create a more cohesive and seamless smart home experience through spatial context,” said iRobot’s spokesperson to CNET.

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