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iRobot Corp, a leader in consumer cleaning robots, has introduced two new models that aim to solve pitfalls faced by competing robots. The company also announced iRobot OS 7.0, which includes new features like Dirt Detective and Smart Scrub.
The company’s newest robots are its flagship Roomba Combo j9+ robot vacuum and map and the Roomba j9+ robot vacuum. The Roomba Combo j9+ includes a new Clean Base Auto-Filll Dock that automatically empties debris and replenishes the robot with liquid. It also includes an Auto-Retract Mopping System, which means the mopping element of the Roomba retracts to the highest level when it detects carpet, preventing carpet from getting wet.
“In addition to one-of-a-kind intelligence provided by iRobot OS 7.0, we’re also pleased to be expanding our product lineup with the addition of new 2-in-1 robots for everyone and our most powerful and smartest Roomba yet,” Barry Schliesmann, chief product officer at iRobot, said. “The Roomba Combo j9+ and Roomba j9+ rely on a range of proprietary cleaning technologies to ensure they are best-in-class at picking up everything from fine dust to stubborn dirt and hair embedded deep into carpets and floors – and at finishing the job they set out to do without getting stuck. They also look beautiful and fit seamlessly into people’s homes.”
This year, iRobot has developed a comprehensive testing methodology focused on cleaning efficacy, cleaning reliability, automatic cleaning control, and craftmanship. The company’s internal testing and benchmarking showed common pitfalls for robots in real-life cleaning scenarios.
These pitfalls include things like stained rugs due to dirty mop pads that are unable to lift high enough, getting stuck due to inadequate obstacle avoidance and hardware shortcomings, and the robots’ inability to get smarter by learning from previous cleaning missions through software updates. These are some of the issues the company sought to tackle with its new robots and OS.
“iRobot understands that customers need to trust a robot will deliver on the promise of automated cleaning. If a robot is continually getting stuck, losing its way, smearing carpeted surfaces with wet mop pads and so on, then a customer’s trust in that product breaks down,” Colin Angle, chairman and CEO at iRobot, said. “The new Roomba Combo j9+ and Roomba j9+ tackle competing product shortcomings head-on with superior engineering, iRobot OS intelligence and thoughtful digital experiences. They are designed so you can trust your robot will get the job done right.”
iRobot OS 7.0 uses a customer’s habits, home, and even the seasons to create a personalized cleaning experience tailored to fit the user’s unique needs and preferences.
Dirt Detective, a new feature in OS 7.0, lets new Roombas automate where it cleans based on cleaning history. This feature allows Roombas to automatically prioritize dirtier rooms and adjust settings like suction, cleaning passes, and scrubbing to best fit the needs of the rooms it’s in.
With the system’s new Cleanliness Assessment Map, customers can check their iRobot Home App for a room-by-room assessment of their home’s cleanliness. This feature allows Roomas to track historical cleaning missions and dirt events to provide an assessment on which rooms need the most attention during the next cleaning job.
Dirt Detective also includes Dirty Room Prioritization, which allows the Roomba to prioritize where to vacuum and mop or just vacuum. These decisions are based on which rooms were last cleaned and the frequency of dirt events. This feature also allows Roombas to automatically clean the bathroom last, so messes there don’t get spread around the home.
The other standout new feature from iRobot OS 7, SmartScrub, enables Roomba Combo j9+ customers and existing Roomba Combo j7+ customers to target specific rooms. SmartScrub will allow the robot to scrub back and forth with consistent downward pressure to take care of messes. This results in 2x deeper scrubbing.
Just weeks ago, iRobot expanded its lineup of 2-in-1 robots with two new robots, the Roomba Combo j5+ ($799) and the Roomba Combo i5+ ($549). Both of these new Roomba are combo robot vacuums and mops that feature a swappable bin depending on the cleaning mode being used.
Amazon is currently in the process of acquiring iRobot. The planned acquisition was first announced in August 2022. The deal was quickly put on hold in September 2022, when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) officially started an antitrust investigation into the deal.
Most recently, despite the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) clearing Amazon’s $1.7 billion pending acquisition of iRobot, the European Union (EU) opened an anti-trust investigation into the deal.