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January 7, 2019

Self-navigating robots make light work of cleaning at home

By Priya Kantaria

House help is soon to be redundant with the launch of fully autonomous cleaning robots for the home that can manoeuvre themselves around floor debris.

The newest floor-cleaning robot from ECOVACS is being launched at CES 2019 and no longer needs home floors to be tidied before starting to clean.

In-home floor cleaning robots of the past needed a clear run of floor to work, without household obstacles like toys, shoes or cables in the way.

The DEEBOT OZMO 960 uses environmental recognition combined with spatial recognition by way of advanced AI and visual interpretation technology, to survey its surroundings and detect foreign objects on the cleaning plane.

It also adapts to the home environment, optimising its navigation route and planning its cleaning rota in the smartest and most efficient way.

Smart Navi mapping technology from ECOVACS provides virtual boundaries, customised cleaning areas and plans out a systematic cleaning route.

Combined with this is the OZMO mopping technology that works by electronically-controlled pumps and sensors.

DEEBOTs also work via Google Home and Amazon Echo.

The smart way of cleaning

“Now, the smart way of cleaning is just a few finger taps or voice command away,” said David Qian, chief executive officer of ECOVACS ROBOTICS.

“Our 2019 CES showcase features ECOVACS’ most comprehensive line-up of home-cleaning robots to the global market, granting us the opportunity to promote the idea of ‘Robotic Intelligence is Home!’

“Through the wide range of home robotics on display at CES, attendees will learn how ECOVACS is keeping floors clean, windows spotless, and the air in homes pure. Innovating since day one, we are continually dedicated to creating intelligent homes.”

Window cleaning and air purifying robots

ECOVACS also introduced its ATMOBOT, an autonomous air purifying robot and the WINBOT X, which is a cordless window cleaning robot.

ATMOBOT uses a laser distance sensor and ultra-sonic sensors to create a virtual map of its surroundings and like the DEEBOT detect obstacles so that it can map an efficient path around the home.

WINBOT X claims to cover more glass than any robotic window cleaner before and uses a safety tether system for cleaning on high buildings that retracts it when the air pressure in the suction cup is too low.

Walmart buys into cleaning robots

In December 2018, US retailer Walmart entered a partnership with Brain Corp to automate floor cleaning in its stores.

These robots, in total 360 robots planned by the end of January 2019, perform a preliminary training ride to map a route through each store before starting autonomous cleaning.

They have multiple sensors that scan for obstacles and people so it can operate while stores are still open.

The AI operating system in the Walmart robots is called BrainOS, which does the autonomous navigation and data collection.

The robots are connected to a cloud-based reporting system that lets them be monitored and managed.

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