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Boto Bot, the robot vacuum –

The Boto Bot vacuum cleaner will be a robot vacuum that can plug itself into a standard power outlet to recharge, has ample space for storage of the debris it sucks up, and has a flexible, self-articulating hose that it can use to get into tight places.  Eventually, not only the hose will be flexible but the whole unit will be made of flexible material and instead of wheels, will have legs, enabling the vacuum to climb steps.  It may be possible to break this product into the AI/electronics involved in creating a power cord that can plug itself in, and the flexible self-articulating hose (picture the trunk of an elephant), both of which have many other uses.  Eventually, the hope is to have this robot vacuum evolve into a more general purpose robot that can be the platform by which we can develop the evolutionary capabilities that will bring about self-reproduction.

Market Plan –

Although much could change as the development of the Boto Bot vacuum progresses, right now the main target market is commercial, industrial, and government owned buildings and warehouses with significant floor space.  These are often large places that make returning to recharge at a dedicated space unfeasible.  While currently this means paying a person many hours each week to vacuum the floor, with the Boto vacuum, this would not be necessary.  This would translate into thousands of dollars in savings for the company and mean one fewer chore that anyone would need to spend time doing.  

The tentative name of "Boto Bot" has been chosen based on the fact that there appears to not be other similarly named commercial products in the robotics market, the fact that the name is short and memorable, and the fact that "Boto" is also the name of a type of cute dolphin that looks vaguely like the envisioned robot will look like (very vaguely).

The only current commercial robot vacuum available right now is the Makita Cordless Commercial Robotic Vacuum.  It last's 3.5 hours on a single charge and can cover an area of 5,380 square feet in that time.  The guesstimated number of square feet in an average high school is over 120,000[1], meaning at least 23 Makita robots would be required to cover the entire area, at a cost of $32,177[2].  Assuming it would cost between $5,000-$20,000+ annually to pay someone to clean an equivalent building, if we can get the price point for our product in the $3,000-$10,000 price range per unit, we have a valuable product that should sell easily.  There are over 100,000 K-12 schools in the U.S. [3], 116,000 shopping malls [4], over 18,000 warehouses [5], and 579,800 manufacturing businesses [6] in the United States.  If we can make it so that actual people do not need to clean these billions of square feet on a regular basis, this will considerably help advance goal number 2 of our mission and bring in a sizable income that we can dedicate to advancing other goals.

With our target market identified, we will employ several methods to get the word out.  The first and foremost of them will be forming tight business friendships between relevant industry stakeholders.  I know how far those ties go, seeing the bonds my father's business had with schools and medical device distributors (he owned a pediatric adaptive seating and positioning company).  As the design of the idea is quite unique, we hope to play up this uniqueness and make the Boto Vacuum into something that is attractive for companies to have.  As the current conception of the design looks something like an elephant, dolphin, or weevil, if this is played up, it can be a hit in schools or other public places.  There may also be the potential to do custom branded machines for an added premium.  We could even start a whole media arm of the company and have many different characters and personalities.

References –

  1. J. Agron, “Size Matters,” American School & University, Apr. 2003, [Online]. Available: http://www.archachieve.net/smallschools/Resources/articles/size_matters.pdf.

  2. Makita Cordless Commercial Robotic Vacuums.” https://www.makitatools.com/cleaning/roboticvacuum (accessed Mar. 25, 2021).

  3. “• Number of shopping malls in the U.S. 2017 | Statista.” https://www.statista.com/statistics/208059/total-shopping-centers-in-the-us/ (accessed Mar. 25, 2021).

  4. “• Industrial space in the U.S.: total space by type | Statista.” https://www.statista.com/statistics/873554/industrial-space-by-type-united-states/ (accessed Mar. 25, 2021).

  5. Fast Facts: Educational institutions (84).” https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=84 (accessed Mar. 25, 2021).

  6. “• Number of warehousrd in U.S. | Statista.” https://www.statista.com/statistics/873492/total-number-of-warehouses-united-states/ (accessed Mar. 25, 2021).

  7. E. Torres-Jara, “A Self-Feeding Robot,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2002.