Startups have been making strides in applying robotics to solve complex industrial problems, but very few have ventured into the realm of household robotics. Matic, founded by former Google research scientist Navneet Dalal, is one of those few. The company is developing robots that can navigate homes and clean with a human-like touch.
Recently, Matic announced that it has raised $29.5 million in funding, including a $24 million Series A round led by prominent tech figures such as Nat Friedman (co-founder of GitHub), John and Patrick Collison (co-founders of Stripe), Adam D’Angelo (CEO of Quora), and Jack Dorsey (co-founder of Twitter and CEO of Block). Dalal co-founded Matic in 2017 with Mehul Nariyawala, who previously served as a lead product manager at Nest.
Matic’s journey into the indoor robotics space began with the realization that there was a lack of precise 3D maps for navigation. According to Dalal, “Just as autonomous vehicles need GPS and Google Street View Maps to navigate, fully autonomous indoor robots require precise understanding of their location on high-fidelity, Street View-like 3D maps of the constantly-changing indoor world.” This led them to develop on-device mapping capabilities to address privacy concerns, latency issues, and the dynamic nature of indoor environments.
While Matic initially focused on building robot vacuums as a means to map indoor spaces thoroughly, their goal was not to directly compete with established players like iRobot and Ecovacs. Instead, they saw an opportunity to innovate in the floor-cleaning robot market and leverage the valuable indoor map data that has attracted the attention of giants like Amazon.
After years of research and development, Matic introduced their flagship product, the Matic vacuum. This fully autonomous robot employs camera-based AI to map and navigate homes, recognize objects, and switch between vacuuming and mopping based on its observations. The Matic vacuum is equipped with an array of cameras for precise mapping and operates at a 1.5-centimeter precision.
Privacy is a significant concern for Matic, and they assure customers that data remains within their homes. All processing occurs on the robot itself, and mapping and telemetry data are saved locally unless users opt to share it. Furthermore, Matic does not require an internet connection to function, only a smartphone connected to a local Wi-Fi network.
With its ability to learn and adapt to users’ cleaning preferences, the Matic vacuum aims to cater to busy working parents who desire a tidy home without sacrificing their limited free time. The robot understands voice commands, gestures, and can even resume cleaning tasks if interrupted.
Matic’s innovative approach to navigation sets it apart from other robot vacuums on the market. While many competitors rely on lasers or lidar for precise localization and mapping, Matic believes that cameras alone are sufficient. By vertically integrating and optimizing their codebase, Matic claims to deliver affordable robots with full autonomy.
However, this level of technology comes at a price. The Matic vacuum starts at $1,795, with pre-orders available at a discounted price of $1,495 for a limited time. Additionally, customers are required to subscribe to a $75-per-month membership, which covers hardware upgrades, repairs, and maintenance. It’s worth noting that membership cancellation forfeits the ownership of the vacuum to Matic.
Matic is poised to transform the household robotics landscape with its commitment to privacy, advanced navigation capabilities, and continuous learning. With their fully autonomous robots, they aim to provide a convenient solution for maintaining a clean home efficiently.
1. How does Matic ensure privacy?
Matic keeps all processing and data on the robot itself, saving mapping and telemetry information locally unless users choose to share it.
2. Can the Matic vacuum resume cleaning tasks if interrupted?
Yes, the Matic vacuum can pick up cleaning tasks where it left off if interrupted, ensuring a thorough cleaning experience.
3. Does Matic require an internet connection?
No, Matic does not require an internet connection to function. It only needs a smartphone paired over a local Wi-Fi network.
4. How does the Matic vacuum prioritize areas to clean?
The Matic vacuum can prioritize areas based on factors such as the time of day, nearby rooms, and furniture. It adapts to users’ cleaning preferences and focuses on areas that get dirty most frequently.
5. How does Matic navigate without lasers or lidar?
Matic uses camera-based AI and proprietary algorithms to navigate and map indoor spaces without the need for lasers or lidar technology.