$900 iRobot 980 Vacuum Graduates From Meandering Drone To Connected Smart Bot

We may not have flying cars or homes above the clouds as portrayed in The Jetsons, but as we dive deeper into the emerging Internet of Things (IoT) categories, our everyday gadgets are becoming smarter and more capable than ever before. So it is with iRobot's latest Roomba vacuum, the Roomba 980.

Out of all the Roombas iRobot has produced since the very first model back in 2002, the Roomba 980 is the first one to combine adaptive navigation with visual localization to clean your pad for two hours, recharge itself, then continue sucking up dirt and debris until it vacuums an entire level of a home.

Roomba 980

iRobot is calling this functionality vSLAM, which stands for visual simultaneous localization and mapping. It's a proprietary technology that's part of iRobot's new iAdapt 2.0 Navigation, which allows the Roomba 980 to map its environment as it cleans.

On the smart side of things, iRobot has made available a new HOME app for Android and iOS that allows users to connect a Roomba 980 to their Wi-Fi network for scheduled cleaning chores. It also allows users to choose the appropriate cleaning mode for the home, such as having Roomba 980 make one or two passes, clean the edges, and whether or not to use Carpet Boost.

"With more than 14 million robots in people’s homes worldwide, iRobot is the global leader in automated home cleaning," said Colin Angle, chairman and chief executive officer of iRobot. "Roomba 980 is the next big step as it marks iRobot’s first cloud connected product with mapping capabilities for the consumer market. Leveraging the cloud and mapping technologies, robots gain a better understanding of their environment, and customers are provided with more control. Looking ahead, these technologies will also enable expanded capabilities for connected robots in the smart home."

Welcome to the future, even if it isn't as The Jetsons portrayed it. The Roomba 980 is now available for $899 in the U.S. and will expand to select European countries Japan in the fourth quarter.