Electrolux's new robot vacuum will see its surroundings to avoid obstacles. Called the Pure i9, this $899 robotic floor cleaner sports a camera at its center (that price converts to about £638 and $1,168AU). The large imaging device is part of what Electrolux calls its "3D Vision" system. Paired with lasers Electrolux says the Pure i9's camera senses the distance, height, and shape of potential objects in its path.
This may not sound like a big deal, but it is. Enhanced navigation is the next frontier in robot vacuum design. Several companies have targeted this area specifically for improvement in their new products. Case in point, the $800 Neato Botvac D7 Connected. This robot is Neato's latest flagship. Its most interesting feature isn't more suction but "No-Go lines." Essentially you mark off areas of your home that the D7 will steer clear of.
The Electrolux "3D Vision" sounds like it would be comparatively less work. Apparently the Pure i9 would both map and scan for problems as it goes. That should translate to reduced hassle for i9 owners, in theory. How Electrolux's new machine travels around real world homes remains to be seen.
I also worry about battery life. Electrolux pegs the i9's runtime at just 40 minutes (normal mode) and 60 minutes on eco mode. That's a lot shorter than the Botvac D7's rated longevity of 120 (max). Perhaps simultaneously looking out for danger while cleaning really tires the little guy out.
The Electrolux Pure i9 at a glance