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“Drunk” iRobot Vacs Binging On Dodgy Software Fix

Roomba robotic vacuum cleaners that appear to have spent a night on the turps, following a recent software update

Now owners are angry that the software was not tested prior to being let loose on products worldwide.

According to owners the devices have been acting erratic and “appear to be drunk” with machines “spinning around”, constantly recharging or not charging at all, and moving in strange directions.

Distributed in Australia by IXL Home, iRobot has confirmed that a problem exists and that they are working to deliver a fix for their $1,800 i7 and s9 Roomba models, the only problem is that the software fix is weeks away.

A search online reveals dozens of complaints on social media with devices getting lost in rooms and under furniture.

“My Roomba is acting like a drunk on a two-day binge,” wrote one Twitter user.

“My i7+ keeps wandering off and is unable to return home,” said another.

A poster on Reddit listed a number of problems including their Roomba:

spinning around and bumping into furniture
moving in “weird patterns”
travelling diagonally away from its charging dock
recharging five times while cleaning one room but only for a total of eight minutes
“We’ve worked with impacted customers to roll their robot’s software back,” iRobot said in a statement.

“We are also implementing an update to ensure any similar issues are avoided moving forward. This update is being deployed to all customers over the course of the next several weeks.

Ken Munro is a cyber-security expert who specialises in security around the internet-of-things – anything which is connected to the internet. He told the BBC “Updates usually add new features or fix security bugs in smart products,” he said.

“They don’t always go to plan though, sometimes introducing new bugs.”

“It’s worth remembering that you’re relying on the manufacturer to continue to support your smart thing; are smart devices ever truly ‘yours’?”

He added, however, that it is generally advisable to accept software updates.

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