Similarly to Samsung and Neato the maker of the Roomba also made the leap to a connected world. The Roomba 980, the latest addition to the iRobot Roomba line, comes with a built in Wi-Fi adapter that allows the owner to access the device using a smartphone app. The robot can be started remotely, and the owner can check on the progress of the robot during cleaning. Setting the schedule is also available through the iOS and Android apps.
New among the options in the HOME app is the number of passes the robot should take on each point of the floor. This would be impossible to set on a randomly moving robot, like older Roomba models were. Fortunately iRobot has ditched the rather outdated idea and moved towards systematic cleaning. iRobot Roomba 980 sports a camera facing the ceiling similarly to the Korean competitors, but this camera is tilted towards the front by approximately 45 degrees, so it can see a little more of the interior.
With the vSLAM (visual simultaneous localization and mapping) technique the robot constantly detects and maps all obstacles in the room and navigates on the already discovered territory. This allows the Roomba 980 to cover the floor line by line. Resuming cleaning after a battery recharge is also possible. The Roomba 980 runs for about 2 hours on a single charge what is enough to clean a 100-110 sqm house or flat. In larger houses the robot simply resumes cleaning after a recharge.
Lighthouses are not needed any more to lead the robot from one room to another, but virtual walls are still available to block certain areas of the house.
With the systematic cleaning and Wi-Fi feature the iRobot Roomba stepped up to the competition. Unfortunately this shows up on the price tag as well. The new Roomba costs $890 which is almost as much as the Dyson 360 Eye or the Samsung PowerBot, and twice as much as the first Neato was a few years ago.