Ever since iRobot was successful on creating the very first Roomba, in 2002, it always had a huge flaw; you always had to clean it. What use is it to have a robot clean the floors so at the end you still have to clean the robot. True, the Roomba can clean the floors while you do something else and the time to clean the robot is just a fraction of the total time it may take to clean the floors with a broom but sorry are the people who have allergies. Karcher is one of the most successful on creating a great design with their RC3000 by having it clean itself automatically but the costs (a
prox. US$1400) was a bit too much for many.
iRobot had their minds on creating something similar with their Roomba back in the days of the 4000/"Discovery" series but nothing came out of it until recently these design patents came out from mid 2007. This does not mean that any of these design ideas will come out at all but it surely shows the interest that iRobot has on creating a true semi-autonomous floor cleaning robot. The problem for iRobot is not with the engineering but rather in the costs and market need. If I were iRobot, I would leave this a limited edition add-on option to their current Roomba 500 series and let the market choose. I really hope that the bean counters at iRobot take on this and push it through if they really wish to sell the idea of having a TRUE domestic floor cleaning ROBOT.