A common complaint about robot vacuums is that you have to clean up before you run them. If you don't, you can come home to a chewed-up charging cable and a beached bot that didn't finish the job.
iRobot, the original robot vacuum maker, has developed a vacuum it says is smart enough to avoid these common obstacles and make sure it gets the job done right the first time.
The new Roomba j7 robot vacuum comes packing Precision Vision Navigation. This uses a tiny camera up front with a wide field of view and an LED spotlight to help it see objects. Paired with onboard AI and a faster processor, this can help it identify said objects and decide if it needs to find a different path to finish its mission
iRobot is so confident in its new technology - Precision Vision Navigation - that it's backing it with the snappily named Pet Owner Official Promise (P.O.O.P.).
Yes, you read that right. iRobot will replace any Roomba j7 that accidentally smears pet poop all over your house. Well, it's the least they can do really.
The Precision Vision Navigation tech can avoid cables and other robot docks, with shoes and socks next on the machine learning schedule. The company promises more objects to come.
A few new features of the j7 are also arriving to the whole line-up of Roomba robots courtesy of the iRobot Genius Home Intelligence platform that powers the iRobot app.
These include built-in geofencing so your bot can clean as soon as you leave and stop when you arrive home.
A new Quiet Drive option will turn the robot's vacuum off as it navigates from room to room, so you can have it clean the kitchen then your bedroom while gliding silently past the nursery.
The bots can also now predict how long it will take to clean rooms, so if you are crunched for time, you can see which rooms you have time to do (for mapping robots).
Plus, you can schedule do not disturb times, so you know your robot won't accidentally wake someone up or interrupt your Zoom call.
When it identifies a hazard, the j7 sends a photo to the app, and you can tell the robot to avoid or clean around it in the future.
All mapping robots can now share maps and auto-populate areas in the maps with suggestions for smart cleaning. For example, the app will offer to create a zone in front of your kitchen island so that you can send it there directly.
Enhanced Alexa integration is also a new feature. Now Alexa can proactively inform you of issues with your vacuum via voice announcements.
At launch, Alexa will be able to tell you when the robot‚Äôs bin/bag is full, when the robot becomes stuck, or when the Braava jet mop‚Äôs tank is empty. Coming soon it will be able to tell you when a cleaning job is finished.
The j7 slides into the iRobot line-up just behind the more powerful Roomba s9 and slightly ahead of the Roomba i7, whose round shape it shares.
Like both those bots, the j7 comes with an optional clean base dirt disposal system, that will suck the dirt out of the vacuum, so you don't have to.
iRobot has completely redesigned the clean base, focusing on making it smaller and squatter so it's easier to find a spot for it under a table. They've also included a section in the base to store extra bags. A nice touch.
The new size is designed to help make it blend in better in your home, and it has a ribbed plastic case, plus a fancy leather tab to open the lid. The LED on the front is also smaller and less obtrusive.
The j7 also has a new look, featuring just a single button on top and a slick, metal finish. It lands on irobot.com on 9 September for $649, or $849 for the j7+ with the clean base.
It then goes up for pre-sale at retailers beginning 12 September, shipping on 19 September. Later this year, the Roomba j7+ robot vacuum will also be available as part of the iRobot Select membership program.
Currently available for the i7, iRobot Select is a subscription service starting at $29 a month that gets you a robot, any accessories you need automatically shipped to you, accidental damage protection for the life of your membership, personal support, and an upgrade to the latest robot every 3 years.