Whether it’s the robot vacuum or the Alexa in every room, robots and AI are slowly taking over our lives.
Honestly, did we not learn anything from Black Mirror?
Now owners of Roomba robot vacuums are complaining, saying the cleaning devices appear “drunk”.
It’s after they’ve applied the latest software update.
Reported problems so far include the Roomba “spinning around”, constantly recharging or not charging at all, or moving in strange directions.
iRobot, the firm that makes the Roomba, acknowledges that the update is causing problems.
However, it says only “a limited number” of its i7 and s9 Roomba models are having issues.
Users will have to be patient though, as a fix would take “several weeks” to roll out around the world.
The company are asking those with “drunk roombas” to share the serial numbers of their device, so it can remove the most recent update.
Unhappy users have been flooding the company with complaints on social media throughout the last week.
“Acting Like A Drunk”
One tweeted: “My Roomba is acting like a drunk on a two-day binge,”
“My i7+ keeps wandering off and is unable to return home,” adds another.
Other customers said their device has been spinning around and bumping into furniture, moving in “weird patterns”, travelling diagonally away from its charging dock and 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.”
The robot vacuums aren’t cheap either.
The i7 Roomba price will set you back at least £599 on iRobot’s UK store. Ouch. That’s an expensive ornament if things go wrong and it doesn’t clean if it’s supposed to.
Ken Munro is a cyber-security expert: “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 says that it is generally advisable to accept software updates.
The drunk Roomba isn’t the only technical mishap this week.
More than 100 motorists were left confused when their key fobs stopped working in the car park of Tesco. Many were stranded and unable to get into their cars.
It happened over three separate days. Police investigated and said there is no foul play.
The drivers were all parked outside a Tesco in Royston, Hertfordshire.
Even weirder, the strange event is now being investigated by TV and radio regulator Ofcom.
Of course, conspiracy theorists are now blaming the full moon or aliens.
However, police say drivers should report any issues to supermarket staff.
They said: ‘We have received a number of calls from members of the public who have not been able to access their vehicles in the car park of Tesco in Old North Road, Royston.
‘For reasons yet unknown, there appears to be an issue in this area with key fobs not functioning correctly. This afternoon, PC Taranvir Gill has attended the Tesco branch with Ofcom, who are the UK’s communications regulator and conducted a survey.’
Meanwhile, PC Gill adds: ‘We wish to reassure residents that we are fully aware of the issues affecting intermittent access to vehicles in this car park.’
‘If you have any problems accessing your vehicle, please do not panic. We would ask that in the first instance, you go to the Tesco customer service desk and ask to speak to the on-duty manager to make them aware you are having difficulties getting into your vehicle as they are aware of the process to follow.’
‘They have the contact details for Ofcom, who are fully up-to-speed with this issue.’
Do you think it’s aliens?
Image via Alamy.