Panasonic Corp announced a new model of the "Rulo" robot cleaner Aug 24, 2017.
The new product, "MC-RS800," comes with camera and laser sensors in addition to ultrasonic and infrared sensors, which are also used for the previous model. It can clean a room while detecting its own location and obstacles as if it is an ultra-small autonomous car.
The MC-RS800 is scheduled to be released Oct 30, 2017. There is no manufacturer's suggested retail price, but it is expected to be sold at a price of about ¥150,000 (approx US$1,368).
Areas to be cleaned can be selected based on map created by vSLAM
The previous model detects obstacles with its ultrasonic and infrared sensors. This time, Panasonic added camera and laser sensors to them.
The camera sensor is used to realize the "visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (vSLAM)" function for the Rulo for the first time. It recognizes conditions in the direction of the ceiling with a wide angle, and, based on them, calculates the room layout and the location of the cleaner. It can create the room's map while cleaning the room
The map can be checked with a smartphone, etc after finishing the cleaning. According to Panasonic, the vSLAM halved the time it takes to clean a room.
Moreover, the new Rulo can utilize the created map in various ways. Specifically, it enables to (1) detect the amount of dust with a higher accuracy and display it, (2) determine areas where dust is easily accumulated based on cumulative data and clean them intensively and (3) select areas to be cleaned (or not to be cleaned) on the map.