iRobot: Amazon buys Roomba manufacturer for $1.7 billion

Amazon announced on Friday that it would buy iRobot. According to its own statements, the retail group offers 61 dollars per share, making the total price around $1.7 billion. iRobot was founded 1990 by three employees at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Co-founder Colin Angle will remain CEO.

Initially iRobot developed robots for military and police. However, the company became known as the manufacturer of the vacuum cleaner robots called Roomba. The first model was introduced 2002. 30 According to the company, millions of units were sold by 2000 sold. This was followed by the mopping robot Scooba, the pool cleaning robot Verro and the gutter cleaning robot Looj. 2002 iRobot sold its military and security robots division to Arlington Capital Partners.

Interfaces between the two companies have long existed: Roombas can be controlled via Amazon’s digital language assistant Alexa, and iRobot also uses Amazon servers

. Since some Roomba models have numerous sensors and use them to measure their owners’ apartments, this information is already being sent to Amazon. The announcement does not reveal whether Amazon plans to monetize this knowledge about the living situation of iRobot customers in any way.

Dave Limp, head of Amazon’s devices division, said: »We know that saving time is important, and housework robs customers of valuable time that would be better spent doing something they love.” He looks forward to working with the iRobot team to “make customers’ lives easier and more beautiful «.

Amazon has also developed robots, but mainly to work in its warehouses. Almost a year ago, the group also announced its first home robot: Astro. For example, it should patrol the house when the residents are not at home and be able to send them live images. Astro costs around 61 dollars and is available by invitation only from Amazon.

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