Matic, a new cleaning robot, is becoming generally available, with orders shipping in early 2024, after gathering almost $30 million in funding. The biggest advantage the Matic has over existing home cleaning robots is the use of autonomous technology.
Much like a robotaxi "knows" what to do while it moseys around city streets, the Matic can wander around your home autonomously, finding messes to clean up and even taking voice and gesture orders of what to clean and where.
Its outside is the first feature that is certain to capture your eye. The Matic looks different from other robot vacuums and mops on the market. Like MO from WALL-E, the Matic looks like a small robot holding a cleaning brush. Also like MO, Matic mops up messes until they're completely gone, unlike other robot mops that just scrub over them on their way to completing their route.
"You'd think that the so-called "smart robots" in our home would be able to navigate the terrain and handle cleaning without getting shoelaces stuck in their bristles, chewing wires, and bumping into everything," Navneet Dalal, Matic's CEO and co-founder shared in a blog post.
Dalal was the co-founder of Flutter, an AI startup acquired by Google in 2013. Mehul Nariyawala, another Matic co-founder, was also a co-founder at Flutter and worked with Dalal in the Like.com early team, a startup also acquired by Google in 2010.
"Matic is the first AI-driven indoor robot that can expertly navigate any home to clean like a human," Dalal continues. Matic uses 5-RGB cameras that feed data into its neural networks to power image recognition, decision-making, and 3D mapping. This is all done on-device, not sent to a cloud service to process it.
Everything the Matic learns -- the shape of your room, where your furniture is, what chair your kid's favorite stuffy is under -- all of this stays private inside the Matic and inside your home.
On its own, Matic is intelligent, albeit artificially, of course. Its eyes, or cameras, can view the world in color; its ears, or microphones, can listen to instructions from people around it; and its brain, or neural networks, process the visual and audio input to determine if what the Matic is seeing is a coffee stain or a sock; voice and visual recognition also help it understand if it hears "clean here" and sees someone pointing to a specific area.
The Matic also learns over time, improving the neural network's ability to recognize its environment and interact with it.
On the inside, instead of a dustbin, the Matic has a HEPA bag that can hold a week's worth of dust and debris with daily vacuuming and a brush roll. Instead of mop pads, it will have a mop roll. It also has a water tank that can hold 600mL. A Matic Membership for $180 will ensure customers have replacement bags and brush and mop rolls.
I was just talking to someone the other day about what our kids' robot vacuums will look like, especially looking back at our parents' vacuum cleaners. I wouldn't know what to do with a bag vacuum from the 70s, but I can work the ins and outs of almost any robot vacuum and mop.
In my aspirational Jetsons life, I'd imagine an autonomous Rosie-like robot with a built-in virtual assistant like Amazon Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, that can vacuum and mop, self-empty its dustbin, and is connected to the household's plumbing for ultimate convenience. It's only a matter of time to see how much of the Matic influences the future of robot vacuums and mops.
In order to start shipping orders in early 2024, Matic was financially backed by major investors and AI experts, including prominent tech names like former GitHub CEO Nat Friedman, Stripe co-founders John and Patrick Collison, and Cue co-founder Daniel Gross.
The Matic will be available for the introductory price of $1,495 (down from its $1,795 retail price) and will include a year of Matic membership, valued at $180.