Samsung Electronics will be debuting its latest Powerbot vacuum cleaner, the VR7000, at CES next week. The VR7000 is not only 28 percent slimmer than previous Samsung robotic vacuums, but can be operated by voice commands using Amazon's Echo smart speaker.
Robotic vacuums have firmly established a healthy niche in the home cleaning market, making up 20 percent of all home vacuum sales according to iRobot CEO and co-founder Colin Angle. However, owners still need to follow up behind the robot because, though they can go under beds and cabinets, there are various tricky corners that most can't handle. Not only do humans have to do the final detail work, they also need to keep track of the remote control to program and operate the robot.
According to Samsung, the VR7000 addresses these problems by focusing on cleaning hard-to-reach spots. Only 4 in (97 mm) tall, it can get at dust bunnies under many kinds of furniture using up to 20 watts of suction power. Features include the Edge Clean Master, which allows the vacuum to get its 11-in (288-mm) brush within 0.5 inch (15 mm) of the wall. The VR7000's Intelligent Power Control feature also responds to changing surface types by automatically changing to the most suitable suction power.
Another feature is Auto Shutter, which, as the name implies, is a shutter that drops automatically to help the vacuum collect more dust at the edges. In addition, there's the Self-Cleaning Brush System that collects dust and hair in the center of the brush, so they are sent to the dustbin more efficiently without clogging the bristles.
For navigation, the VR7000 uses Samsung's Visionary Mapping Plus and FullView Sensor 2.0. The company says that this allows the unit to map and record a room's contours for more efficient cleaning. It can also zero in on dirty areas and can detect and avoid obstacles down to under 0.4 in (10 mm).
The VR7000 can be controlled from a phone or other device through an app, but the vacuum is also compatible with the Amazon Echo, so its owner can control it using voice commands. Exactly what commands haven't been revealed, but it's likely that they'll at least be simple ones like start/stop.
The Powerbot VR7000 has received a 2017 CES Innovation Award and will be on display at the exhibition from January 5 to 8. Samsung has yet to announce pricing or availability.