Amazon and Roomba developer iRobot have reached a merger agreement to make the e-commerce giant the new owner of the consumer robot maker. The true motive behind the acquisition is unclear, but it’s likely an attempt for Amazon to create more autonomous warehouse robots and expand its smart home business.
Amazon announced Friday that it was acquiring iRobot in a $61 ($85) per share merger through a cash transaction totaling approximately $1.7 billion ($2 billion). Has. David Limp, senior vice president of Amazon Devices, said in a press release:
We know that saving time is important and that tasks take up valuable time that could be better spent on things customers love. Over the years, the iRobot team has proven their ability to transform the way people clean with incredibly practical and imaginative products – collecting when and where customers want to clean and avoiding common household hassles. Automatic emptying of the container. Customers love iRobot products – and I look forward to working with the iRobot team to find ways to make customers’ lives easier and more enjoyable.
The announcement is largely without details, but Amazon’s full acquisition of iRobot coupled with Limp’s comments — particularly his mention of automation and avoiding the hurdles — would strengthen Amazon’s warehouse adoption of iRobot technology. indicates Amazon’s interest, not their products. robot fleet. When Gizmodo emailed Amazon asking about their acquisition intentions, they directed us to Limp’s offer.
Earlier this summer, Amazon announced Proteus, a robot to serve in the company’s warehouses that’s suspiciously big like a Roomba and can dodge obstacles. Amazon’s fleet of warehouse robots includes the first “Ernie,” a robot that can pick items off shelves, and “Bert,” one of the company’s first attempts at using intelligent navigation technology.
Amazon’s move toward autonomous (and emotionless) warehouse workers comes at an interesting time, as the company sees a broader push for unionization and better working conditions in the warehouse. Last Prime Day, Amazon warehouse workers distributed a petition calling for more public attention to the oppressive conditions at Amazon warehouses.
It’s also worth noting that the Roomba is known to map users’ homes because it can be a valuable source of data for a company that dominates the smart home industry.
Editor’s note: The release dates in this article are for the United States. They are based in the US but will update with local Australian dates as we learn more.