Domestic service robots on rise, 12 million to be shipped
Domestic service robots are devices that autonomously carry out indoor and outdoor household chores, and they include vacuum cleaners, floor cleaners, window cleaners, lawn mowers, pool cleaners, as well as robots used for social and edutainment purposes and robotic kitchen/chefs.
Navigation and obstacle avoidance technology in domestic service robots has evolved over the past decade.
The latest development in mapping and navigation technology using a 360-degree laser or an image sensor (e.g. Neato Robotics’ Botvac connected robotic vacuum, Dyson’s 360 Eye robotic vacuum, and iRobot’s Roomba 980 robotic vacuum) enables the robots to move around the house smoothly into tighter and dense spaces.
In earlier generations of these products, the rudimentary mapping technology meant the robots bumped along walls and featured a few preset cleaning patterns that determined the cleaning time of each room.
With improved technology in newer devices on the market, the camera sensor or a laser scans the room and the furniture in it, so the device knows the exact location to resume its job even after its battery is recharged.
Connecting robotic devices to mobile devices is an additional feature that is expected to spur growth in the domestic service robot market. Connectivity allows users to remotely track the status of their appliances using cameras - in some cases, they can also be used as home-security cameras.
Wireless local area network (WLAN) or Wi-Fi will remain the most popular connectivity technology over the next five years. Low-power single-chip Wi-Fi is expected to become the main connectivity technology for the connected domestic service robot market in the future.
Current high prices are considered to be one of the key barriers to growth in the domestic service robot market, even though the supplier market is very fragmented. Leading suppliers are also constantly looking to reduce the cost of their products and differentiate them by adding more features and adopting innovative designs. ■