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Amazon Acquisition Will Expand Its Robot Artificial Intelligence Presence In Your Home

Amazon and iRobot signed an agreement Thursday under which Amazon will acquire iRobot, supporting the online retail giant’s ambitions to solidify its foothold on smart home technology, according to The Wall Street Journal.

iRobot makes the popular home-cleaning product Roomba, a wireless smart-vacuum that maps spaces to clean dust and messes, according to the WSJ. The Amazon-iRobot press release notes that Amazon will acquire iRobot for $61 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.7 billion, including iRobot’s net debt.

With Amazon’s Alexa product, Ring doorbells, other smart home products, and now Roomba, the company will have an “incredible amount of data” in a modern smart home, leading to concerns about privacy, according to the Verge.

“Protecting customer data has always been incredibly important to Amazon, and we think we’ve been very good stewards of peoples’ data across all of our businesses. Customer trust is something we have worked hard to earn —and work hard to keep— every day,” a spokesperson for Amazon told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Last year Amazon launched its own home robot, retailing at $999, that “can map out floor plans, listen to commands to move between rooms, and even recognizes faces,” according to the Verge. “Much like an Alexa-powered device, it can answer questions, play music, and show you things like the weather.”

The press release does not mention how Roomba and Amazon’s Astro smart home robot will integrate.

“We know that saving time matters, and chores take precious time that can be better spent doing something that customers love,” said Dave Limp, SVP of Amazon Devices in the press release. “Over many years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent how people clean with products that are incredibly practical and inventive — from cleaning when and where customers want while avoiding common obstacles in the home, to automatically emptying the collection bin.”

The acquisition is Amazon’s fourth largest ever, just behind the retail giant’s purchase of Whole Foods for $13.7 billion in 2017, its acquisition of entertainment company MGM for $8.5 billion in March and last month’s addition of One Medical, a self-described “human-centered, technology-powered national primary care organization,” for $3.9 billion, according to the WSJ.

iRobot did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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