Dyson has showcased a series of prototype robots it is developing, and has announced plans to hire hundreds of engineers over the next five years to build robots capable of doing household chores.
The company, best known for its range of vacuum cleaners, is looking to go beyond the vacuum cleaners, fans and dryers that made its founder one of Britain’s richest businessmen.
The pictures demonstrate the fine motor skills of the robots with arms capable of lifting dishes off the drying rack, sweeping the sofa, or picking up a children’s toy.
The company says it aims to develop a standalone device capable of doing household chores and other tasks. Such a device could be launched by 2030.
It comes more than half a decade after the company launched its first robotic device, the Dyson 360 Eye, in 2014. Dyson has long emphasized its interest in artificial intelligence and robotics to support its future products.
The announcement was made in conjunction with the International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Philadelphia. The ad is a recruitment tool with a prominent link that says “Start Your Career at Dyson” near the top of the company’s press release.
The company says it is in the midst of the largest engineering recruitment drive in its history. It currently employs 250 robotics engineers with expertise in computer vision, machine learning, sensors and mechatronics.
Dyson hopes to hire another 700 over the next five years. It says it added 2,000 new employees to its workforce this year.
Dyson reveals its big bet for the future
In addition to the appointments, the company is also working on building what it hopes will be the UK’s largest robotics research center.
The center is located at Halvington Airport near the company’s current design center in Wiltshire. The hangar is being renovated to accommodate 250 robotics specialists.
The site was previously dedicated to the development of the Dyson electric vehicle. But the company canceled the project in 2019 in the prototype stage due to concerns about profitability. Research is also conducted in a laboratory in London, as well as at the company’s global headquarters in Singapore.
” This is a big bet on future robotic technology that is driving research across Dyson, in areas including mechanical engineering, vision systems, machine learning and energy storage ,” said Jake Dyson, the company’s chief engineer and son of company founder James Dyson .
Robots are widely used in controlled settings such as factory production lines. But it has yet to enter homes in any significant way beyond the niche and growing market for robotic vacuum cleaners.
In 2020, the company announced plans to invest about $3.45 billion in areas including robotics, new engine technology, and machine learning software by 2025. It plans to spend about $750 million of this investment this year.