By Andy Choi
U.S. robotics company iRobot has received a patent approval for a system that allows a robot to return autonomously to its operator if wireless communications fail. The patent is for the “retrotravese” technology that it has developed for its 510 PackBot. It is also the hundredth patent that the company had received for its robotic technologies.
The company has a policy of building its repertoire of strategic intellectual property and has achieved much since it received its first patent. Colin Angle, chairman and chief executive officer of iRobot said that the company had made significant investments to protect its intellectual property.
He said that they had been both strategic and aggressive in filing U.S. and international patent applications relating to key product features and innovations, and they had entered into partnerships that allowed for the cross-licensing of product portfolios. Angle said that these steps were important in maintaining their position as the leading publicly traded pure-play robotics company and in sustaining a long-term competitive advantage.
The company has other patents related to semi autonomous capabilities provided by User Assist Package or UAP lined up. The company has made and sold more than 7.5 million home robots. It has also delivered nearly 4,500 life saving robots to the military and civil defence forces worldwide.