Imagine having a robot vacuum that not only cleans your house every day, but also, finds the charging station by itself when it needs a recharge. Enter the Deebot DT85G, a ¥1,200 ($170) robot vacuum introduced by Ecovacs Robotics, which aims to fill the rising demand for service robots and help China’s growing middle class make mundane chores a thing of the past, according to China Daily.
In fact, according to Tmall.com, Alibaba’s B2C platform, on last year’s Singles Day (November 11), the Deebot S emerged as the top-selling home electronic appliance on the site, outselling TVs in the process. Further, if that wasn’t impressive enough, according to the International Federation of Robots, global sales of service robots for private use will surge to around 35 million units by 2018, with household robots being among the items demanded most by consumers.
Even smartphone giant Xiaomi has jumped into the fray, introducing a smart vacuum cleaner in September 2016, whose 12 sensors and CPU enable the device to automatically measure the size of the room and map the best cleaning routes. The device is competitively priced at ¥1,699 ($245), and promises to make doing housework seamless and interesting.
But it’s not just traditional technology companies that want a piece of the action – home appliance firms such as Haier and TCL are also developing similar products, which further strengthens the argument that this is a rapidly-growing market.
However, household robots appear to be morphing into multifunctional smart devices, such as the UNIBOT, introduced last year by Ecovacs, which is said to be able to clean floors, control appliances, clean the air, and even perform surveillance.
While most smart vacuums perform just a few functions, it is not difficult to imagine a day when we have household robots that excel at doing many different things, thus not only freeing up vast amounts of time for consumers, but also, pushing the boundaries of what technology can accomplish in the home without having to accumulate dozens of gadgets. Whether this becomes a reality remains to be seen, but given the demand for such products as well as the blinding speed of technological progress, I would not bet against it.