When Vacuums And Lawn Mowers Mate

from the and-so-it-goes dept

Okay, it’s not at all fair to talk about iRobot, makers of the Roomba, as if they’re a “vacuum company,” since prior to the Roomba, they focused on robots for military use. However, it is still somewhat amusing to think of iRobot and John Deere (most well known publicly for making lawn mowers, but who also makes plenty of military equipment) teaming up to build a “semi-autonomous” vehicle for the military. The article does suggest that iRobot will be adapting “the artificial intelligence technology used in its Roomba vacuums” for the vehicle. Considering that the Roomba AI seems to lead to it bouncing around somewhat randomly until it finishes, you have to wonder how efficient the vehicle will be. It’s also not clear what part of the vehicle makes it “semi” autonomous — though, you have to imagine that’s why the article doesn’t bother suggesting that the vehicle might enter into the next DARPA Grand Challenge for fully autonomous vehicles.

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Comments on “When Vacuums And Lawn Mowers Mate”

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Mark says:


It’s “semi-autonomous” in that a human operator will drive it once down a route, and then the robot will navigate that same route by itself. The part of the Roomba AI they’ll be using will probably be the methods of navigating around obstacles that appear in the meantime. So don’t focus on the Roomba’s random bounce-around method, instead think of the way it’s pretty good at hugging a wall or navigating around a lamp post.

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