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Friday, October 23, 2020

Meet Trifo, the robotics startup which has India in its virtual map

The Santa Clara, California-based robotics company Trifo will launch its advanced AI-based home robot vacuums soon in India.

Written by Anuj Bhatia | New Delhi | Updated: September 24, 2020 10:05:26 pm
Trifo, trifo robot vacuums, home robot vacuums, trifo india, trifo lucy, trifo Max, trifo robot vacuumsTrifo Max, which is an autonomous robot vacuum, retails for $399 in the US. (Image credit: Trifo)

Trifo is the latest to join the very long list of companies offering cleaning robots. The Santa Clara, California-based robotics perception company will soon enter India with a range of home robot vacuums, targeting at different price points.

Founded in 2016 by Zhe Zhang, who has previously worked with Microsoft Robotics and Magic Leap, Trifo is a full-stack AI home robot company that specialises in 3D mapping, AI and machine learning, sensors, and robotics. “The home robotics market is in early stages, and very promising,” Zhang told indianexpress.com over a call. “With our robotics techniques, we are trying to make a robot smarter and more efficient,” he said.

Zhang, a PhD in robotics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, envisions a smart home where vacuum robots can do an effective job of cleaning your floors, disposing of dust, pet hair and other refuse without disturbing the owner. These robot vacuums belong to a new crop of AI-enabled home vacuum cleaners equipped with sensors, SoC, lasers and cameras that help them create a 3D picture of your space to avoid furniture, walls and objects on the floor. Robot vacuums also come with a charging dock and charge themselves.

Trifo’s $799 flagship robot vacuum Lucy is armed with a 1080p camera that can see even at night, all thanks to a depth sensor that can detect objects with minimal light. Lucy, with its capability to map and learn your space, is able to spot obstacles as small as an inch in height like books and slippers. Thanks to an ARM-based chipset, Lucy automatically divides a home into pre-labelled rooms based on the furniture detected. The vacuum robot, which has 3,000 Pa suction and a 5,200mAh battery, is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa.

Trifo, trifo robot vacuums, home robot vacuums, trifo india, trifo lucy, trifo Max, trifo robot vacuums Zhang, who has a PhD in robotics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, previously led projects at Microsoft Robotics and AR glasses start-up Magic Leap. (Image credit: Trifo)

Being a robotics company, Trifo has developed its own vision-based tracking and navigation algorithms. “We have a lot of patents and technologies to deal with visual information,” he said. But Zhang also understands that both hardware and software are important for an intelligent robot vacuum.

Trifo, which is already present in the US and has plans to aggressively expand in European markets, eyes India as the next big market for home robots. While there is no one particular market leader in robot vacuum space in India, Trifo will have to face tough competition from iRobot, Xiaomi and Milagrow.

Trifo, trifo robot vacuums, home robot vacuums, trifo india, trifo lucy, trifo Max, trifo robot vacuums Lucy takes advantages of its AI and machine learning chops to create detailed maps of each room in your home. (Image credit: Trifo)

“India is a very important potential market. I think in most parts of Asia, it’s less than 10 per cent of market penetration, which we feel is the great opportunity,” he said. Zhang and his team are currently in touch with several distributors and partners for the launch of the Trifo in the country.

Trifo, which has offices in Shenzhen  and Beijing, has a strong team with backgrounds in computer vision and robotics, some with experience of working with Microsoft and Intel. Zhang says his company has so far raised over $27 million from various venture capital funds including Walden International, Matrix Partners and Samsung Ventures.

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