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First Look: Dyson 360 Heurist robot wants to be the smartest vacuum cleaner ever

Dyson is to home appliances as Apple is to phones and computing – stylish, secretive and attention grabbing. And there’s nothing that piques our interest like the words “Dyson” and "Robot” together.

Enter then the Dyson 360 Heurist – a next-gen attempt at perfecting the robot vacuum cleaner for the home. The follow up to 2016’s Dyson 360 Eye, a bot that had a lot going for it – if not the fully-polished prize we usually get from Dyson – the Heurist looks to answer many of the issues that first model raised.

Same looks, new smarts

At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking not much had changed. And, in terms of the Dyson 360 Heurist’s looks, that’d be true. Aside from a new paint job (a more friendlier royal blue and silver this time around), the industrial design is more or less identical. It’s still taller and stouter than most robot competing robot vacuum cleaners, allowing more room for Dyson’s powerful motors to be squeezed in, and still uses tank treads for confidently navigating uneven surfaces around the home.

Under the hood, however, lots has changed. As the “Heurist” name suggests, it’s a smarter robot than before, capable of a degree of learning and automation beyond its predecessors capabilities. There’s a quad-core processor on board running 450,000 lines of code, with 10GB of memory – a 20x increase over Dyson’s first robot. With this added processing power, the robot is able to store a map of your home onboard, refining its accuracy with every clean for improved navigation.

Eight sensors also play into that improved navigation system, with the 360 “Eye” camera that sits on top of the robot now also sporting a light for situations where lighting conditions may be low. Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) technology makes the robot scan the room every 20 milliseconds, letting it avoid drops and spot obstacles that could get caught in its brush bar.

Moving and mapping

There’d be little point to having top-notch navigation options if the bot itself couldn’t suck up dirt effectively, but the onboard Dyson digital motor V2 seems more than capable. The original Dyson bot was among the most thorough of robotic cleaners that we’ve yet tested, and the new one is capable of 20% more suction than the previous model, spinning at up to 78,000rpm. 

This hasn’t resulted in any notable loss in battery life, however, with three distinct power modes letting the Dyson 360 Heurist eye sensibly manage its suction levels based on the job at hand. The bot automatically returns to a charging base when it notes its energy levels dropping, too.

As with the previous model, the Dyson Link app is used to set up the robot vacuum cleaner, as well as scheduling its cleaning schedules. But with the increased power of the robot comes new app capabilities too – perhaps the area where the Dyson 360 Heurist will prove most useful over its predecessor. 

As well as offering a map of your home to see which areas have been reached and cleaned thoroughly, you can now name zones in the app (once the bot has built up its map) and instruct the robot to clean only specific areas of a home. That makes it far more flexible for quick cleaning sessions, as well as making it easy to help the robot avoid areas where you know it may get stuck. 

In addition, you can highlight 'no-go' zones on the map – for instance, areas where there may be gadget cabling to avoid, or the legs of a dining table and chairs – which should make for a more consistent cleaning experience that requires less manual interruption from a human owner.

Availability

It’s looking good then, but as the ‘First Look’ nature of this article suggests, there’s still lots of things we don’t know about the Dyson 360 Heurist. For starters, though we’ve got the stats on its suction capabilities, we’ve not yet had a chance to see it do any cleaning. And we’d like to personally put those new app capabilities to the test, too.

What we do know is when it goes on sale – and you’re looking at a 13 March release date in the UK, with a £799 price tag. That converts to around $1,050 / AU$1,600, though we'll let you know international pricing as soon as we have it.

However, in a candid admission, Dyson stated that it would not be releasing the 360 Heurist in the US, stating that data and feedback they’ve received from previous models suggested it would be ill-suited to effectively cleaning larger, complicated US homes. That suggests another revision may be is in the works – but that’d still likely be some years away from release. In the meantime, European and Asian homes look set to enjoy a smart upgrade with Dyson’s next bot cleaner.

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