Robart’s IFA innovation: “Alexa, tell the robot to clean the dining room”
Vacuum cleaners get smarter: Robart will display at the IFA 2017 in Berlin their new home robot, equipped with artificial intelligence. The device finds its way alone, identifies obstacles, can be controlled with a smartphone and even listens to Alexa from Amazon. Manufacturers such as Bosch and the SEB-Group have already invested in Robart and, in the USA, Hoover is already using the navigation technology.
Michael Schahpar, CEO of the Austrian company Robart, explains: “A vacuum cleaner robot with our technology detects walls and doors and creates a plan of the house, which can be seen on the smartphone”. The helping cleaner can be controlled comfortably by mobile phone. Before guests arrive, simply send the robot to the dining room. There is no need to close the door to save the building blocks in the children’s room, it can be set in the mobile app as a No-Go-Area.
“We are showing for the first time, at the IFA, how robots can even be controlled by Alexa from Amazon”, says Schahpar. “New models with this technology will be launched in autumn 2017”. Several manufacturers are already integrating Robart’s navigation system into their products, with prices for intelligent home robots currently starting at 400 Dollars.
Navigation system for vacuum cleaners
The very first generation of cleaning robots drove randomly around the apartment and eventually cleaned every surface, or not. Modern, cleverer models move systematically, but do not know where they are located. Robart’s system provides robots the intelligence to understand the user’s homes, much like a car navigation system. The robot always knows where to go. When picked up and put down elsewhere, the vacuum cleaner finds its way around and resumes the task. He also recognizes obstacles, such as chair legs and flowerpots, and avoids them – even if the chair is standing somewhere else every time.
Operating the robot is particularly convenient when using the app on the iPhone or Android phone. This allows the user to pre-program, give the robot orders and check what the device is doing. An extra gag: the cleaning triumphs can even be shared on Facebook or Twitter.
“This intelligence and navigation is not found in any other home robot system, Robart is a technology leader”, emphasizes Harold Artés, Chief Technical Officer and second CEO of Robart. “We have been working on this navigation technology for eight years.”
Currently, the artificial intelligence is mainly used in vacuum cleaner robots. In a few years, robots will be able to do a lot more: an electronic butler can fetch stuff and pick up something; it can make the daily life of the elderly easier and provide security in your own four walls.
“Just like the mobile phone has gained more abilities in the last ten years, home robots will also fulfill more tasks in the future”, says Artés. The market is booming. Home robots represent the strongest growing segment in household appliances and the annual turnover is expected to be up to 40% per year.
The building blocks are safe: a robot cleaner with the Robart system knows where to vacuum and not. The robot recognizes walls and doors, sees obstacles, can be commanded via smartphone and now even communicates with Alexa from Amazon.
Photo: Robart / Publication free of charge
Robart GmbH in Linz, Austria, develops artificial intelligence and navigation for home robots. The company exists since 2009, has filed 46 patents, is expanding continuously and employs an international team of currently 55 employees, mainly engineers for electronics and software. Robart’s customers are large manufacturers of household robots. Renowned investment companies have invested in Robart and support the global market penetration, including the Robert Bosch Venture Capital Group, the French investors Innovacom; as well as SEB Alliance, the joint venture of Groupe SEB (including Rowenta, Moulinex, WMF).