​iRobot and Google team up to understand your smart home

The collaboration focusses on extending iRobot's mapping data to other smart gadgets.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

iRobot and Google have announced they're looking at ways to integrate the Roomba-maker's home maps with Google Assistant to extend instructions to other gadgets.

The collaboration centers on iRobot's Roomba i7+ vacuum models' ability to map home floor plans and remember room names.

As it is, Google Home users or anyone with Google Assistant can give a voice command like, "Hey Google, clean the kitchen", and a Roomba carries out the task. The integration supports the task across multiple rooms that have been assigned a name, such as the bedroom, living room, and other named areas.

According to iRobot, the home-mapping data could also be used to make it easier to set up new smart home gadgets and create new ways to automate the 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," said Colin Angle, chairman and CEO of iRobot in a statement.

He added the companies are working to "explore new ways to enable a more thoughtful home."

SEE: Special report: How to automate the enterprise (free ebook)

In a statement to The Verge, Google said iRobot's maps could help locate wifi-connected lights and automatically assign names and locations to them within the house.

Google stressed that Assistant only learns the names people have given to areas in the home so it can then instruct Roomba i7+ to go to that area. Google doesn't receive information about the layout of the home.

Angle told the publication that the partnership could help users in future tell Assistant to control other smart home gadgets using the same naming and location information used by the Roomba.

"Over the past year, we've been working hard to make it easier to control all the devices and appliances in your home with the Google Assistant with just your voice," Michele Turner, director of Google's Smart Home Ecosystem said.

"We're excited to be exploring with iRobot how its unique spatial awareness technology can work with the Assistant to offer customers a more intuitive and personalized experience in their homes."


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