iRobot, the company behind the autonomous Roomba vacuum, says it’s scrapping its plans to release its lawn-mowing robot, the Terra, because of the pandemic. The company said in its earnings release yesterday that it’s “suspended” its launch plans for the Terra because of COVID-19 and the subsequent global economic downturn the virus caused. The announcement came coupled with news that iRobot laid off 70 employees, mostly in its research and development department, and furloughed 14 sales and marketing staff.
The company first debuted the Terra in January 2019 and said it’d be beta-testing the device in the US. In August 2019, iRobot told The Verge that the beta was “progressing well.” The device’s Federal Communications Commission filings gave us a better idea of what people could expect from the Terra and how it worked, which also seemed to suggest we could expect to see the Terra fully released in the near future.
The pandemic, iRobot says, affected the company’s supply chain, however, which caused a significant loss in revenue. It’s now seemingly pivoted its focus to keeping the business afloat, rather than launching new products.