New York — The Anti-Defamation League’s National Consumer Technology Industry divisio
The Hoover Co. has entered into a strategic alliance with Friendly Robotics to jointly design and develop a robotic vacuum cleaner for residential use.
Hoover envisions the product as an easy-to-operate, "intelligent" floor surface cleaner that functions simply and autonomously.
Under terms of the agreement, Hoover, a division of Maytag, will contribute its cleaning technology and design expertise to the project, while Friendly Robotics will provide its RoboScan navigational system and will manufacture the unit.
Friendly, a privately held robotics concern based in Israel, is best known for its Robomower line of fully automatic lawn mowers, designed for domestic lawns.
In a written statement, the partners said their alliance marks the launch of a new floor care category that will likely lead to future collaborations on products.
While the Hoover/Friendly team has yet to announce a launch date, it has already lost first-to-market bragging rights to Electrolux, which introduced an automated vacuum cleaner last autumn in Europe. The Trilobite, touted as the world's first robotic floor cleaner, uses ultrasound to navigate, automatically recharges itself when low on power, and shuts down when cleaning is completed. Electrolux plans to bring the Trilobite to the U.S. market this year.
Friendly says its Roboscan technology enables a household appliance to systematically cover a given area without any prior knowledge of its shape or obstacles. Noted Hoover president Keith Minton, "Our joint venture with Friendly represents a remarkable meshing of technology and talent that will result in a very strong product — not a novelty product, but one that will deliver true consumer benefits. [Consumers] are ready for a breakthrough product that will help them save time and simplify their lives by relieving them from a routine cleaning chore."
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.