Bedford's iRobot Corp., maker of the Roomba vacuum cleaner, will buy the California robot maker Evolution Robotics Inc. for $74 million, adding a line of floor-cleaning robots to its suite of consumer and military robots. Evolution Robotics’s Mint, designed to clean wood floors, sells for about $200.
The chief executive of iRobot, Colin Angle, said the company plans to focus on increasing overseas sales for Mint, including in Asia and Europe, for example, where Roomba is already a popular product. Mint is a small square machine that has an onboard navigation system to clean floors while avoiding furniture and carpeting.
“Most Mint owners also own a Roomba, so they use the products in tandem,” Angle said.
The acquisition will also bring technical talent to iRobot, he said.
“The other half of this story is part of iRobot’s strategy to acquire rights to what we consider to be the key intellectual property in the robot space,” he said. Evolution Robotics has about 30 employees at its Pasadena, Calif., headquarters.
IRobot faces some uncertainty on the defense side of its business, with the Pentagon looking at cutting $450 billion from its budget over 10 years. Angle said the military portion of iRobot remains “an important long-term business.”