Electrolux unveils prototype for robot vacuum cleaner

December 1, 1997

(ELUX) The world’s first robotic vacuum cleaner has arrived. Electrolux, the world’s largest household appliance manufacturer, unveils its prototype robot vacuum cleaner, beginning the journey to the home of the future and answering the prayers of millions of housework haters.

Although there are no immediate plans for production, Electrolux hopes that the robot vacuum cleaner could become a standard item in homes all over the world in the future.

The robot vacuum cleaner is a smooth round disc with an in-built navigational radar that allows it to vacuum its way around any room without bumping into furniture or other obstacles. Its microprocessor “brain” enables the robot to look for ways out when confronted with a corner. Its sleek streamlined design also means that it can escape dead ends and manoeuvre in the tightest spaces, such as under beds, and cope easily with carpet edges and cables.

When placed on the ground the robot vacuum cleaner automatically starts cleaning, and will clean a room of any size or shape without any human help. Its radar first finds the nearest wall and vacuums all around the edge of the room. Then, it will clean the rest of the room in irregular stretches, slowing down when approaching an obstacle and steering out of the way. When “at rest”, the battery operated robot vacuum cleaner is stored unobtrusively on a charging station.

Although the technology is strictly futuristic, the Electrolux robot vacuum cleaner’s design draws its inspiration from the distant past: a fossil. The distinctive ‘gills’ and rounded shape make the robot look like a trilobite, a small prehistoric sea-creature that lived between 560 and 250 million years ago.

Gillian Sterne, a working mother with two boys, Ben (4 years) and Jonty (2 years) has been using the robot vacuum cleaner and comments: “Using the robot vacuum cleaner means that I have one less thing to think about. It’s brilliant because I can take the boys to school and go to work, and I know that when I get back, my carpet will be clean. Vacuuming is so boring anyway, I’m just surprised no one thought of a robot cleaner sooner!”

Electrolux is no stranger to using robot technology, having developed a prototype solar powered robotic lawnmower, which cuts the grass as long as there is daylight. The solar mower is sold under the brand name Husqvarna.

Electrolux is also the world’s largest manufacturer of vacuum cleaners, and has been making them since 1909. In fact Electrolux makes 20 per cent of the world’s vacuum cleaners.

For further information contact:
Electrolux Press Hotline, +46 8 657 65 07

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