After decades of creating war machines and home cleaning appliances, iRobot agreed to be acquired by Amazon for $1.7 billion, according to a joint statement by the two companies. If the deal goes through, it would give Amazon access to yet another wellspring of personal data: interior maps of Roomba owners’ homes.
iRobot got its start building robots for the US military, but 20 years ago added consumer vacuums to the mix. (It spun off the defense business altogether in 2016.) Those Roombas work in part by using sensors to map the homes they operate in. In a 2017 Reuters interview, iRobot CEO Colin Angle suggested the company might someday share that data with tech companies developing smart home devices and AI assistants.
Amazon declined to respond to questions about how it would use that data, but combined with other recent acquisition targets, the company ...
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