Dyson, a global technology corporation, has shown off a sneak peek of its discrete household robot model at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) to entice the brightest minds in robotics to join its fast-growing workforce.
As it attempts to move beyond the vacuum cleaners, fans, and dryers that made its founder one of the wealthiest British businesspeople, Dyson has signaled that it is laying a “huge bet” on developing robots capable of household tasks by 2030. Dyson aims to create the UK’s largest robotics research center near its design center in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, at its Hullavington Airfield location.
The company is halfway through the substantial engineering recruitment drive the company has ever undertaken. This year, 2,000 employees joined the tech firm, 50% of them being engineers, scientists, and coders.
Dyson is ramping up its robotics efforts, hiring 250 robotics engineers across various fields such as computer vision, machine learning, sensors, and mechatronics, with plans to add 700 more over the next five years.
Dyson’s latest robotics makeover is part of a £2.75 billion ($3.4 billion) investment strategy in new technologies, products, and facilities, of which £600 million ($753 million) will be invested this year.
New employees will be placed at Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire, a new London laboratory near Imperial College’s Dyson Robotics Lab, and Dyson’s worldwide headquarters in Singapore. Dyson has been covertly refitting one of the main aircraft hangars at Hullavington Airfield for the past six months in preparation for 250 roboticists to move into their new home.
On Wednesday, the company released photos of robot arms cleaning furniture, picking up dishes with a claw, and scooping up a teddy bear with a hand-like mechanism. This reminded me of Toyota Research Insititue’s complex training for robots to accomplish household jobs.
While these may not look like significant accomplishments, robots still have difficulty doing numerous behaviors that humans take for granted, such as gripping fragile things or navigating unknown obstacles. Solving these and other issues could open up new business opportunities for the company. The household robot market seems to reach USD 9.1 billion by 2024.
Dyson is a global technology company that has its headquarters in Singapore. The company has launched several robotic vacuums before, and it is best known for its cordless handheld models.