Major hardware initiative sees maps revolutionise housework.
Self-driving robots have been commercially available for some time – in the form of automated vacuum cleaners. Switch them on, and they’ll eventually find their way around your home, cleaning as they go.
While certainly welcome, initial offerings in this space have not yet arrived at their full potential, however.
What’s missing are highly accurate, continually updated maps.
Today’s automated cleaning machines have no maps. This means that they have to find their way around by bumping into your walls and furniture to know when it’s time to change direction.
That’s why HERE has announced the HERE Roomer. Coming to market in the third quarter of 2016, it will be a map-enabled automated cleaner that can find its way around your home with ease.
What are the advantages?
- Roomer uses HERE indoor-mapping technology to understand the layout of your home and the most efficient routes it should take to make it clean. This has been proven to result in time and energy savings of up to 20 per cent.
- House maps are cross-checked against existing architectural plans in the cloud to ensure veracity.
- No need to knock into skirting boards or furniture, potentially chipping the paint. The Roomer knows where obstacles are from the map.
- Built-in sensors update the map on-the-fly when furniture is rearranged – and the technology includes algorithms to ignore temporary obstacles such as discarded shoes or shopping bags.
- The maps are cloud-enabled. When you buy a new Roomer, simply enter your HERE account to synchronise the most recent maps from our location cloud. Favourite – especially dirt-prone – locations in your house can also be stored and transferred.
HERE head of indoor hardware, Friedrich Staubsauger, told us:
“Now is the time for automated vacuum cleaners to come of age. Our highest resolution maps to date will allow cleaning at up to 5cm accuracy – and the maps will self-heal, so that they are always updated.”
Staubsauger also revealed that a much larger version of the Roomer – called the Streeter – is under development for sale to local authorities.
This is intended for the purpose of roadside and pavement cleaning, while simultaneously helping to keep HERE street maps up-to-date for the benefit of us all. Initial teething issues discovered during testing – the occasional ingestion of small dogs and cats – will soon be overcome, Staubsauger asserts.
Fixing the Achilles heel
The lack of maps has clearly been in a major flaw in existing automated cleaner models. But there is a second: what to do about stairs? Stairs have historically stumped automated cleaners, but at HERE, we think we’ve got the problem licked.
As Staubsauger tells us, this problem will soon be history. “The device can be simply lifted and replaced on the adjacent stair. This simple action just needs to be performed every 90 seconds, for each stair you have.”
Weighing just 30kg, cleaning your home will soon be a snap with the HERE Roomer.
The HERE Roomer will be available for pre-order soon. Keep checking here on the blog for details.
NOTE: In case you are reading this after April 1, this was a joke. HERE will not be entering the automated room-cleaner business any time soon.