The new iRobot OS aims to provide its household bots with a deeper understanding of your home and your habits and will generate detailed maps so it can vaccum up correctly.
Each of iRobot’s connected Roomba vacuums and mops trundles around homes multiple times a week, mapping and remapping the spaces. On its latest model, the j7, iRobot added a front-facing, AI-powered camera that, according to Angle, has detected more than 43 million objects in people’s homes. Other models have a low-resolution camera that points at the ceiling for navigation.
iRobot has detailed knowledge of our floor plans and, crucially, how they change. It knows where your kitchen is, which your kids’ rooms are, where your sofa is (and how new it is), and if you recently turned the guest room into a nursery.
These maps are really useful for a smart home perspective and it seems Amazon wants iRobot for the maps it generates to give it that deep understanding of our homes. This has led some to be a little worried about where this data will end up.
If Amazon wanted iRobot for its vaccums it would have bought it years ago when it was a lot cheaper. It seems likely that knowing your floor plan provides context which is vital for the "smart home" idea that Amazon is working on.
Privacy experts though are a little concerned as Amazon has a habit of helping the police with their inquiries. This means that a swat team could have a detailed map of your home, know where everyone is sleeping and how to avoid stepping on any lego bricks.