The technology industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the progress in robotics technology, characterized by enhancements in sensors, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI), and the creation of robots with superior capabilities and versatility, as well as growing importance of technologies such as advanced sensors, mapping and localization, and autonomous navigation. Advancements in robotics and AI continue to drive innovation in the field, leading to more intelligent, efficient, and capable cleaning robots. In the last three years alone, there have been over 4.1 million patents filed and granted in the technology industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Robotics in technology: cleaning robotsBuy the report here.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilizing and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

190+ innovations will shape the technology industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the technology industry using innovation intensity models built on over 1.5 million patents, there are 190+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, inspection robots, robotic maintenance, and cleaning robots are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Surveillance robots, warehouse management automation, and automated palletizing are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing.

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the technology industry

Cleaning robots is a key innovation area in robotics

Cleaning robots are machines that operate autonomously or with partial autonomy, specifically intended for the purpose of cleaning various surfaces such as floors and carpets. These robots employ a combination of tools such as brushes, vacuums, and other cleaning mechanisms to perform their tasks with efficiency and effectiveness within the designated cleaning area.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 900+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established technology companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of cleaning robots.

Key players in cleaning robots – a disruptive innovation in the technology industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to cleaning robots

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
BSH Hausgerate 141 Unlock Company Profile
LG Electronics 3544 Unlock Company Profile
Vorwerk 821 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Electronics 1611 Unlock Company Profile
QIHOO 360 Technology 83 Unlock Company Profile
SharkNinja Operating 282 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Xiaomi Mobile Software 187 Unlock Company Profile
Carl Freudenberg 47 Unlock Company Profile
Dyson Technology 308 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic Intellectual Property Management 162 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart Apollo 97 Unlock Company Profile
Jiangsu Midea Cleaning Appliances 284 Unlock Company Profile
Bissell 149 Unlock Company Profile
Gree Electric Appliances 302 Unlock Company Profile
Midea Group 1068 Unlock Company Profile
Micro-Star International 50 Unlock Company Profile
AB Electrolux 289 Unlock Company Profile
iRobot 1489 Unlock Company Profile
PixArt Imaging 55 Unlock Company Profile
Nidec 60 Unlock Company Profile
Groupe SEB 62 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 133 Unlock Company Profile
Panasonic 215 Unlock Company Profile
Yujin Robot 55 Unlock Company Profile
Miele & Cie 182 Unlock Company Profile
Sharp 214 Unlock Company Profile
Makita 96 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba Home Appliances 51 Unlock Company Profile
Walmart 110 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 102 Unlock Company Profile
Eurofilters 51 Unlock Company Profile
Alfred Karcher 56 Unlock Company Profile
Brain 72 Unlock Company Profile
BISSELL Homecare 106 Unlock Company Profile
Ecovacs Robotics 341 Unlock Company Profile
Shanghai Gaussian Automation Technology Development 141 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Roborock Technology 262 Unlock Company Profile
Xiaomi 228 Unlock Company Profile
Ai 54 Unlock Company Profile
Positec Power Tools (Suzhou) 139 Unlock Company Profile
ELG Electronic Kft 54 Unlock Company Profile
Xiaogou Electric Internet Technology (Beijing) 72 Unlock Company Profile
Guangdong Midea White Home Appliance Technology Innovation Center 53 Unlock Company Profile
Zhuhai Amicro Semiconductor 185 Unlock Company Profile
Hizero Technologies 54 Unlock Company Profile
Shenzhen Silver Star Intelligent Technology 466 Unlock Company Profile
EVERYBOT 97 Unlock Company Profile
Alfred Karcher 60 Unlock Company Profile
Midea Robozone Technology 51 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

LG is the leading patent filer in cleaning robots. The company’s patents are aimed at a robot cleaner including a 3D sensor unit installed on a main body to sense nearby objects and output sensing information, a secondary sensor unit to sense nearby objects and output sensing information, and a storage unit configured to set a diagnostic algorithm according to a diagnostic mode in advance.

The cleaning robot also has a unit to input an execution command for the diagnostic mode, a control unit to auto-correct the diagnostic mode for the 3D sensor using the diagnostic algorithm in response to the execution command, and an output unit configured to output an execution result of the diagnostic mode and a correction message.

Other prominent patent filers in the cleaning robots space include Samsung, iRobot, and Midea Group.  

In terms of geographic reach, Walmart leads the pack, followed by Eurofilters and iRobot. In terms of application diversity, Walmart holds the top position, followed by Nidec and Dyson.  

The significance of cleaning robots lies in its ability to enhance cleaning efficiency, improve cleanliness and hygiene, provide convenience and accessibility, ensure consistent and reliable results, contribute to safety and health, offer cost savings, promote sustainability, and drive technological progress.

To further understand how robotics is disrupting the technology industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Robotics.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article. 

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.