Roomba Maker Wants To Sell Data Device Collects When Mapping Your Home

Ken Copeland
July 26, 2017

All robovacs use short-range infrared or laser sensors to detect and avoid obstacles, but iRobot in 2015 added a camera, new sensors and software to its flagship 900-series Roomba that gave it the ability to build a map while keeping track of their own location within it. Of particular note is a bit where the executive speculates that the company "could reach a deal to sell its maps to one or more of the Big Three [Amazon, Apple, Google] in the next couple of years".

SoftBank has built a less than 5 percent stake in IRobot, below the amount that would require a regulatory disclosure in the US, the people said, asking not to be identified because the purchase was private.

Certain robotic vacuum cleaners, the "Roomba", have been mapping the parameters of people's homes while collecting dust and dirt, according to a Reuters report published Monday.

CEO Colin Angle told Reuters they're looking to make a deal with Amazon, Apple, or Alphabet that would put what he calls the "rich map of the home" inside the brain of Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant.

The Roomba is an automated floor cleaner that can be activated via an app and find its own way around, using sensors and a camera.

What Will Tech Companies Do With The Home Mapping Data? With the Amazon Echo and the Google Home, along with the upcoming Apple HomePod, knowing how the homes of its users look like will allow the companies to customize the experiences offered by the devices accordingly.

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It's a common question for those wary of smart home appliances: "Aren't you anxious about all the data they're collecting?"

Furthermore, any users that allowed Roomba to access their Clean Map reports has already given permission to iRobot to share their data with third parties, including selling it, Lifehacker reported.

Additionally, believing that some persons won't like the theme of robot selling their data to other organizations who don't have the same commitment to user data security.

Of course all this is just speculation on how data collected by the Roomba could help the smart home industry.

In a statement, iRobot told BuzzFeed News it "is committed to the absolute privacy of our customer-related data, including data collected by our connected products".

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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