May 2, 2022

Dyson eyes Robots that can do all Household Chores 

Dyson has led a series of prototype robot development and announced plans to hire hundreds of engineers over the next five years to create robots competent for household tasks.

The images are conceived to show off the excellent motor skills of the appliances, with arms adept at lifting plates out of a drying rack, vacuuming a couch, or raising a kids’ toy.

The company, best comprehended for its range of vacuum cleaners, aims to develop “an autonomous device capable of household chores and other tasks.” It arrived over half a decade after the company unleashed its first robotic device, the Dyson 360 Eye vacuum cleaner, in 2014. Dyson has long highlighted its interest in AI and robotics to underpin its future developments.

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The notification was made to coincide with the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Philadelphia and act as a recruitment tool with a notable “Start your Dyson career” connection placed near the top of Dyson’s press release.

As well as creating hires, the company is also building out what it expects will be the UK’s biggest robotics research hub. The center will be established at Hullavington Airfield near the company’s living design center in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

The company states it’s in the midst of the “largest engineering recruitment drive in its history.” It’s recruiting 250 robotics engineers with expertise in “computer vision, sensors, machine learning, and mechatronics” and hopes to engage 700 more over the next five years. Dyson has already added 2,000 new workers to its workforce this year.

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The site had previously been earmarked for developing Dyson’s electric car before the project was canceled in 2019. The research will also occur in a lab in London and at the company’s multinational headquarters in Singapore.

“This is a ‘big bet’ on forthcoming robotic technology that will drive research across the full of Dyson, in areas including machine learning, mechanical engineering, vision systems, and energy storage,” said Jake Dyson.

In 2020, Dyson planned to invest £2.75 billion (roughly $3.45 billion) in robotics, new motor tech, and machine learning software 2025. In addition, it intends to spend £600 million (approximately $750 million) on that investment this year.

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Dyson provides further definition of its ambitions in advanced robotics and signals it is accelerating the expansion of an autonomous device capable of household and other chores.

A film, also released on social media, witnesses the latest developments of Dyson-designed robotic hands grasping objects, suggesting that the tech company is moving beyond robotic floor-based vacuums. The secret R&D career at Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire is led by Dyson’s Chief Engineer, Jake Dyson.

Dyson is halfway through the most significant engineering recruitment drive in its history. Two thousand people have entered the tech company this year, of which 50% are scientists, engineers, and coders. Dyson is supercharging its robotics initiatives, recruiting 250 engineers across professions, including computer vision, machine learning, sensors, and mechatronics.

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It expects to hire 700 more in robotics over the next five years. In addition, the master plan created the UK’s largest, most advanced robotics center at Hullavington Airfield to get the technology into our homes by the decade’s end.

Recruits will be founded at Hullavington Airfield in Wiltshire, a new London laboratory near the Dyson Robotics Lab at Imperial College and Dyson’s global headquarters, Singapore. Dyson has been privately refitting one of the leading aircraft hangars at Hullavington Airfield to prepare for 250 roboticists to shift into their new home. Its latest robotics makeover is the next phase in Dyson’s £2.75bn investment plan in new technologies, products, and facilities; £600m is to be spent this year.

Dyson utilized its first roboticist 20 years ago, and this year alone, we are seeking 250 more experts for our team. It is a ‘big bet’ on future robotic technology that will drive research across the whole of Dyson, including mechanical engineering, vision systems, machine learning, and energy storage. So we need the best people in the world to come and join us now.

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Dyson’s robots have been floor-based vacuum cleaners – the first of which, the DC06, was designed 20 years ago. Dyson’s film offers glimpses of new research in manipulation, robot learning, visual perception, and compliant control; Dyson’s film gives the world the first glimpse into its latest “big bet.” But, unfortunately, it also shows a flight of stairs…

To produce a true vacuum, Dyson had to miniaturize its patented cyclone technology and find a way to balance that power-hungry component with a robot that could work long enough to vacuum a good portion of your house. “That changes everything, the way you work. Focusing on making sure it’s a vacuum cleaner first puts a lot of pressure and constraints on you, making it a severe challenge.

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The Cyclone is the critical differentiator between the 360 Eye and other robot vacuums on the market. It provides a much stronger, more capable vacuum at the cost of a taller unit that can’t fit under low-hanging furniture.

The insistence on using Cyclone technology meant Dyson has a different form factor from most of the other robotic vacuums on the market. The 360 Eye is 4.72 inches tall, compared with the new Roomba 980, which stands 3.6 inches tall. The height was dictated by the insistence on using Dyson’s Cyclone technology, which loses its effectiveness if made any shorter. And Aldred argues that while the 360 is tall, it’s not nearly as wide as most competitors. The Dyson clocks in at a 9-inch diameter versus almost 14 inches for the new Roomba.

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The powerful vacuum also drains the battery. The 360 Eye went about 45 minutes between charges, while the Roomba 980 and Deebot 80 last for closer to two hours. But the Dyson’s charging time seemed correspondingly short, and I didn’t notice any difference in the time it took to clean my apartment. That was partly because the enormous vacuum and Cyclone design meant the 360 Eye could collect much more dirt before its bin was full and required human help to be emptied.

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