In case you missed it, iRobot, makers of the nifty Cat Chariot (also known as the Roomba robotic room vacuum cleaner), also makes defense and protection robots like First Look (which some call the Throw-bot, because you can literally throw it into dangerous situations) and Packbot — a bomb disposal robot.
That is, they used to make those robots. But not anymore. According to Mashable, on Thursday iRobot announced that they were selling their defense robotics business to private firm Arlington Capital Partners for $45 million. It will take months to work out the kinks of the sale, but when it’s complete, a new company called iRobot Defense & Security will focus on defense, police, and industrial security robots, while the old iRobot company deals with robotic household appliances and lawn mowers.
While the deal will take a few months to finalize, the newly private company will focus on defense, public safety and the industrial market. iRobot founder Colin Angle will remain CEO of iRobot, which just unveiled a new version of the Roomba that can be controlled from your smartphone. “We believe iRobot has an incredibly bright future. With the sale of D&S we can solidify our position as the leader in home robots,” said Angle during an investor call announcing the sale.
“iRobot sees significant growth opportunities in the consumer robotic technology market, particularly in light of the successful Roomba 980 launch and the potential presented by the connected smart home…. We are confident that our strategy of focusing on the home will position iRobot for continued growth and success,” said Angle in a release on the sale.
Sean Bielat was named the CEO of the new defense-focused company. “I am thrilled to be rejoining such an amazing organization,” he said in a release, adding, “As an independent company, we will be focused on our own goals and objectives and pursue the numerous opportunities that lie ahead of us.”