iRobot, creator of the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner, has acquired rival firm Evolution Robotics for $74 million. Evolution is known for its Mint hard floor-cleaning robot, a category iRobot recently tackled with its own Scooba cleaner. Spokesperson Laura Jakosky says that the plan is to take Mint cleaners to Europe and Asia where hard floors are more common. The Evolution purchase also gives iRobot the NorthStar infrared localization technology that could bring greater navigation capabilities to future Roombas.
Update: During an investor conference call, iRobot CEO and chairman Colin Angle explained that the acquisition will help iRobot build lower-priced cleaning robots in general, and noted that the Mint's square design makes it better suited than the existing circular Roomba for sweeping jobs. "And so, yes, we will maintain the square shape for our sweeping robots," he told investors.
The move comes as iRobot celebrates the Roomba's tenth birthday. According to CNET there have been over six million Roombas sold in the past decade, and they've collectively sucked up more than a million tons of dirt. The average Roomba is said to journey 704 miles over the course of its lifespan, picking up 300 pounds of detritus along the way.