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Dyson lifts lid on ‘top secret’ project

Dyson recently revealed a “top secret” project it’s been working on that involves robots for household chores.

While it already has some robotics experience thanks to its 360 Heurist robovac, the British company says it’s planning to deploy new engineering teams in the U.K. and Singapore tasked with developing a range of domestic robots.

Jake Dyson, son of the company’s founder, James Dyson, touched on the firm’s roadmap in a video (below) shot at its base in the Wiltshire countryside about 70 miles west of London.

Although he described the robotics project as top secret, Dyson acknowledged that for the company to attract top engineers — it’s aiming to hire 700 in all — it needed to lift the lid on its ambitions in the increasingly competitive sector.

So the video offers a glimpse of several of the household robots in development. There’s one clutching a dinner plate and another handling a soft toy. Admittedly, such efforts hardly seem groundbreaking, but the inclusion in the video of some pixelated footage suggests the company would rather keep its best work out of sight for now.

During a tour of one of the company’s current robot-focused facilities, Dyson takes us into “the arm room” and “the perception lab,” where several engineers offer a few words about their work.

“We’ve trying to achieve something that’s very very complex that no one has achieved so far,” one engineer says. Comments like that suggest Dyson has its work cut out, but if it can pull it off and come up with genuinely useful robots capable of efficiently performing a range of household tasks, the rewards could be huge.

What it doesn’t want is a repeat of the difficulties it experienced with its proposed electric car, a project that it unveiled in 2017 but abandoned two years later after spending an estimated $3 billion. James Dyson said at the time that his team had built a “fantastic” electric car but that the company had decided to end its development because it was “not commercially viable.”

The field of robotics clearly presents a different kind of challenge, but with Dyson having the advantage of being able to apply its existing research to the development of new household devices, it appears to have a more realistic chance of making tangible progress with its latest endeavor.

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Trevor Mogg
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