Luxury vacuum maker Dyson has had a turbulent relationship with robovacs. The company’s first swing at the idea came in 2016 with the Dyson 360 Eye, which was oddly tall and awkwardly shaped for furniture. The 2020 sequel, the Dyson 360 Heurist, retained its extra-long form factor and was not released in the US as a result. This new robot, “Dyson 360 Vis Nav”, chooses a lower and more wide body design, which makes it look like an ordinary robot vacuum. Or at least, it’s as natural as a Dyson product can ever look – it still has a stark metallic purple coating and what looks like silver alienLike a facehugger on the top deck.
Old Dyson robovacs were about 9 inches wide and 4.7 inches long, so the company previously opted for a robot with a small footprint and a long body. That theoretically allowed it to maneuver in tighter spaces than the average flat and short disc vacuum, but it doesn’t kill the dust bunnies under your couch. Dyson says this new model can fit within a 99 mm (3.9 in) gap, which is right in line with the Roomba’s natural height. It’s also D-shaped now, like a higher-end Neato vac or Roomba, allowing for a wider coverage path and really getting into those corners.
Edges are usually covered by a roller brush, but you won’t find one here. Instead, there is what looks like a red extendable L-shaped squeegee just behind the brush bar. When the robot detects a wall, the squeegee extends to make contact with the wall, and Dyson says this will redirect the suction and pick up everything.
Navigation is entirely dependent on the camera. Its primary view of the world comes from a 360-degree hemispherical lens on the upper deck, and then there are six more directional cameras. Both the left and right sides have a camera positioned in the top corner for what looks like more topical data. The front of the robot didn’t appear to have a bumper plate, instead opting for four cameras: two facing forward and two cameras facing left and right. Presumably, this is how he stops getting caught in everything and how he detects walls.
All of these cameras are fed into a simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) system, so the robot maps your home and knows where it is in your home. The app supports all the features you would expect, such as mapping, room creation and naming, and targeting specific areas of the home.
Auto docking in a ground charger requires a lot of precision, and robovacs usually have some sort of infrared light system built into the dock and robot. It appears that Dyson is instead using something like trust-based localization. You can see black and white chessboard labels that allow the camera to identify an object. The stickers really go against the very colorful alien tech design idea of the rest of the robot. Note that the robot also docks in the forward position, so the silver buttons on the front are supposed to be the charging contacts.
The main downside to this robot is the lack of an automatic dump feature. Most premium robovacs nowadays can empty themselves into the charging dock when full and continue cleaning. Not only is this one less responsibility you have as a robot owner, it also relieves the robot’s design of having to make a trade-off in box size versus other components. If the robot empties automatically, you can prioritize other features over maximizing container space. Incidentally, the box is under the silver flip cover and pulls out from the back of the robot.
So while the robot part still seems like it’s lagging behind the competition, Dyson claims this is the “most powerful robotic vacuum with six times the suction of any other” thanks to a “Dyson Hyperdymium motor.” It has a fully enclosed HEPA filtration system [that] Traps dust and seals in 99.99% of particles as microscopically as small as 0.1 microns – the size of pet dander and diesel soot. “
We don’t have a full list of countries it launched in, but there’s nothing about the robot on Dyson’s US site. The Australian site lists the release date as May 25, and it should come as no surprise that this is really expensive, at $2,399 AUD, or about $1,590 USD.
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