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Amazon buys Roomba maker for $1.7 billion

A screenshot of the iRobot Roomba j7+ robot vacuum
Enlarge / iRobot’s Roomba j7+ robotic vacuum.

iRobot

Amazon simply introduced a blockbuster deal to purchase the house robotics firm iRobot for $1.7 billion. That is Amazon’s fourth-largest acquisition ever, after the acquisition of grocery chain Whole Foods in 2017 ($13.7 billion), the film studio MGM in 2021 ($8.45 billion), and the medical supplier One Medical final month ($3.9 billion).

iRobot is the world’s main client robotics firm. The corporate principally makes Roomba vacuum cleaners and robo-mops, and it is also making an attempt to get a robo-mower product off the bottom.

Amazon isn’t any stranger to robots; it has a whole “Amazon Robotics” division that focuses on the corporate’s logistics work in Amazon warehouses. Amazon snapped up warehouse robotics firm Kiva Programs in 2012 and Canvas Technology in 2019 and lately launched its first “totally autonomous” robotic, referred to as “Proteus,” which looks like an industrial-strength Roomba. As a substitute of vacuuming, the unit drives beneath a listing cart and raises it up a number of inches, simply sufficient to get the cart off the bottom for supply.

Amazon has additionally dipped its toes into iRobot’s turf currently with the sort-of industrial launch of the house robotic “Astro.” Astro is actually an Alexa/digital camera/pill on wheels that may navigate round the home. Gross sales are solely by invitation, although, so it is extra like an experiment than a significant client launch.

Amazon does not point out the little home robotic in any respect in its press launch, although, with Dave Limp, SVP of Amazon Gadgets, saying, “We all know that saving time issues, and chores take treasured time that may be higher spent doing one thing that prospects love. Over a few years, the iRobot workforce has confirmed its skill to reinvent how individuals clear with merchandise which can be extremely sensible and ingenious—from cleansing when and the place prospects need whereas avoiding widespread obstacles within the house, to mechanically emptying the gathering bin.”

The press launch says iRobot CEO Colin Angle will keep on as head of iRobot, and the deal is topic to regulatory approval.

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