Over the past decade, Google has mapped the external world extensively and increasingly wants to do the same for the indoors. For example, mapping stores could make it easier for customers to find products. Google is now partnering with Roomba-maker iRobot to get a better sense of your house and improve your smart home.
iRobot’s Roomba i7+ is the latest generation of the vacuuming robot and can map its surroundings to avoid obstacles and create “visual landmarks to keep track of where it’s been and where it has yet to clean.” This sensing capability allows the Roomba to learn the rooms in your home, with existing Google Assistant integration allowing you to direct where the robot should clean next.
The two companies are now partnering on future functionality that takes advantage of the Roomba’s mapping data and what it knows about where you live. For example, this spatial awareness could be used to simplify smart home setup.
Working together, iRobot and Google will seek additional ways to integrate their platforms, providing customers with the choice to opt in to new innovative smart home experiences that leverage a broader understanding of the home’s space. For example, the spatial awareness of the home that Roomba maintains may help to simplify smart home setup and enable powerful new automations.
In an interview with The Verge, examples cited include locating smart lighting and automatically assigning names to various rooms. At the moment, users have to manually label the rooms that the Roomba recognizes. On the privacy front, iRobot notes how this data “doesn’t help current Google products” and will not be used for anything beyond your smart home.
“Robots with mapping and spatial awareness capabilities will play an important role in allowing other smart devices in the home to more seamlessly work together. We’re looking forward to working with Google to explore new ways to enable a more thoughtful home.”
Meanwhile, features that result from this integration will be opt-in, with users needing to agree on sharing information. Both companies cite a “thoughtful home” experience that is smarter and more optimized, with various devices working together.