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A robotic vacuum cleaner, sometimes called a robovac or a roomba as a generic trademark, is an autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner which has a limited vacuum floor cleaning system combined with sensors and robotic drives with programmable controllers and cleaning routines. Early designs included manual operation via remote control and a "self-drive" mode which allowed the machine to clean autonomously. Some designs use spinning brushes to reach tight corners, and some include a number of cleaning features along with the vacuuming feature (mopping, UV sterilization, etc.). More recent models use artificial intelligence and deep learning for better mapping, object identification and event-based cleaning.
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Marketing materials for robotic vacuums frequently cite low noise, ease of use, and autonomous cleaning as main advantages. The perception that these devices are set-and-forget solutions is widespread but not always correct. Robotic vacuums are usually smaller than traditional upright vacuums, and weigh significantly less than even the lightest canister models. However, a downside to a robotic vacuum cleaner is that it takes an extended amount of time to vacuum an area due to its size. They are also relatively expensive, and replacement parts and batteries can contribute significantly to their operating cost.
In 1956, the American science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein described the concept of a robotic vacuum cleaner with a recharging dock in his novel The Door into Summer: "Basically it was just a better vacuum cleaner .... It went quietly looking for dirt all day long, in search curves that could miss nothing .... Around dinner time it would go to its stall and soak up a quick charge."
In 1969 on 2 April an episode of The Avengers was broadcast in which the character Inge Tilson played by Dora Reisser says "...I saw a demonstration once. A robot vacuum cleaner. It swept around the house, went back into its cupboard, automatically plugged in and recharged itself...". The teleplay for this episode which was entitled "Thingumajig" was written by Terry Nation. It was episode 27 of Season 7.
In 1985, Tomy released the Dustbot as a part of their Omnibot line of toys. Dustbot is the first robot to feature a built in vacuum. He vacuums dust, crumbs and pieces of paper as he moves, turning whenever he senses an edge or runs into something. Dustbot would carry a mini broom and dustpan for decoration and move the broom as he moves. Later robot vacuums improve upon the technology of the Dustbot but lack the charm of a toy robot with a broom. 
In 1990, three roboticists, Colin Angle, Helen Greiner, and Rodney Brooks, founded iRobot. It was originally dedicated to making robots for military and domestic use. It launched the Roomba in 2002, which was able to change direction when it encountered an obstacle, detect dirty spots on the floor, and identify steep drops to keep it from falling down stairs. The Roomba proved to be the first commercially successful robot vacuum. In 2005, iRobot introduced the Scooba, which scrubbed hard floors.
In 2001, Dyson built and demonstrated a robot vacuum known as the DC06. However, due to its high price, it was never released to the market. Electrolux Released the Trilobite robotic vacuum cleaner. The Robotic vacuum cleaner launched at a price of $1,800.00. There were two models: The ZA1 and the ZA2.
In 2022, ECOVACS launched DEEBOT-X1 Family featuring YIKO Voice Assistant, the industry's first natural language for home robots with Al voice interaction technologies, including voice semantics from Google, you can control DEEBOT with the power of your voice
Some advanced robot vacuum cleaners have a sensor that detects and avoids mopping in carpeted areas. However, if there is no sensor, most of the robot vacuum cleaner manufacturers add a no-mop zone feature in the app to make robot vacuums to avoid certain areas to clean. These robot vacuums are also capable to mop about 150sqm in one go.