ECOVAC’s Latest Robo Floor Cleaner Takes Category to Next Level
Believe it or not, the robotic or autonomous vacuum has been around for over two decades. Electrolux gets credit for introducing the first one, back 1996, and while it worked fairly well for an initial effort, it fell short on a number of fronts, not the least of which was it did a spotty cleaning job.
A multitude of models followed, some pretty good, others not so good. However, the market persevered through these shaky beginnings, growing to become a $4.6 billion global market as we entered 2020, and is now expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.35% to reach $10.1 billion by 2026.
Manufacturers have apparently gotten thighs right since those early incarnations. Which brings us to the recently released ECOVACS DEEBOT OZMO T8 AIVI, an AI-driven floor cleaning robot.
We’ve been playing around with one for a few weeks now and after 20 years, this category has clearly hit the fast lane. For purposes of this review we’re going to refer to our DEEBOT as Sherri on occasion (you’ll quickly discover that you have to name these things, as they become a member of the family - a hardworking, super efficient member of the family).
Among the many features Sherri possesses are simultaneous vacuuming/mopping ability with advanced laser-based home mapping, object identification and avoidance, and remote monitoring that brings some peace of mind to homeowners.
We turned Sherri loose on the sometimes very messy abode that me and my family inhabit and simply stood back to see what she could do.
Sherri also has a Visual Butler feature that captures a live video feed of your home from wherever you are, working with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, allowing you to start and stop cleaning with voice command.
Utilizing a multitude of sensors, the vacuum actually maps out your home as it goes and spots and tracks objects in its way - it will alert you to remove them or simply work around them. A turret sticks up from the top of the machine housing a spinning laser that powers the vacuum's lidar navigation subsystem. The more she cleans, the more she learns about your home’s landscape, an important selling point as previous models in the category needed lots of hand holding in this area.
In fact, we feel the navigation learning feature is what sets the ECOVAC T8 apart. Robo vacs have had optics in the past, but the T8 records images and using a built-in algorithm the vacuum begins tagging specific walls, furniture and other reference points and stores that info, learning as it cleans. Thus, it becomes more efficient each time it cleans the same area.
You can create virtual boundaries to keep the product focused on specific rooms. The T8 also avoids exposed wires rather deftly - however on one occasion a thin computer wire in our home office began tangling in her brushes and Sherri simply shut down, rather than take the wire further into her cleaning mechanism. I simply removed the wire and the T8 went right back to cleaning duties.
The cleaning job is thorough, if a bit random at first, but the assigned rooms were noticeably cleaner once she was finished. Once complete, Sherri notified us she was heading back to her charging station for a recharge. The 5200mAh Lithium Ion battery offers 3+ hours of runtime, enabling over 3,000 square feet of coverage in standard suction mode. We emptied out the easily removable waste bin and gave her the rest of the night off.
The unit’s 240ml water tank enables over 100 minutes of mop time, and it will cover more than 2,000 square feet of flooring. We turned her attention to a medium sized dining room (18x12) and the T8 did a superb job in approximately 30 minutes.
In the advanced cleaning mode (2-in-1 Vacuuming and Mopping) the T8 AIVI can simultaneously vacuum and mop and, according to ECOVAC, can remove up to 99.26% of bacteria on floors.
An additional advanced feature, dubbed Carpet Boost and Suction, allows you to utilize 3 levels of suction power as the unit automatically increases suction power by 2x when transitioning from a hard floor surface to carpet.
With regard to the aforementioned Advanced Navigation + Mapping feature here are few more specifics in that area worth mentioning to your customers:
- TrueMapping: T8 AIVI efficiently navigates and maps your home on your ECOVACS Home app using the most advanced laser and DToF sensor technology. With this advancement, detection distance is increased by 2X, and detection accuracy of small objects is increased by 4X over previous models. The interactive map gives users the ability to choose how and where they want to clean and monitor. Utilize unlimited virtual boundaries, area mode and custom mode to clean specific areas/rooms or to avoid others.
- Virtual Boundary Advisor: This advanced feature identifies areas in the home environment that can cause the robot to be frequently stuck. It can proactively advise on setting up virtual boundaries to avoid those areas in the future.
- Missed Area Notification: With objects on the floor, robots can sometimes miss areas during cleaning. After each cleaning, AIVI will send a notification to the user with details of which areas were missed during the last cleaning cycle and invites the user to remove identified obstacles. Once the obstacles are removed, the user can send the robot back to clean only those areas missed in one tap.
As we opened, this category has come a long way in 20 years, and while the EVOVAC DEEBOT OZMO T8 AIVI probably doesn’t represent the finish line, it has clearly risen the bar to new heights for the smart vac category. And with the advances being made in the area of artificial intelligence, there’s no telling what’s next for our increasingly autonomous homes.