Supply Chain Management / Industrial Robotics

Roomba developer discusses the billion-dollar industry of robots for warehousing

By Hope Reese, for TechRepublic

Nov 16, 2015

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Roomba became one of first, popular, home robots, and has since sold more than ten million units across the globe. Despite the growth of the company, inventor Joe Jones was restless. "The company had been successful with the Roomba, and, shortly after, a military robot called PackBot," said Jones.

In 2006, Jones convinced a few others to leave iRobot to start another company, Harvest Automation, where they built a robot for the greenhouse industry and has branch out into warehousing.

"One of the problems with Roomba is that after you develop a robot that cleans the floor, what do you do next? Clean windows? Clean the toilet?" he asked. "In 2012, Amazon bought the warehouse robot maker Kiva Systems for 775 million, which proved there's a billion dollar market for robots in warehousing."

Read more of Jones' thoughts on small robotics in industry, and where he sees the biggest area of need for robots today.