Robot population to grow 7 times by 2007

The use of robots around the home to mow lawns, vacuum floors and manage other chores is set to surge sevenfold by 2007 as more consumers snap up smart machines, the United Nations said. U.N. Economic Commission for Europe and the International Federation of Robotics said that 607,000 automated domestic helpers were in use at the end of 2003, 67% of them purchased that year. Most of them – 570,000 – were robot lawnmowers. Sales of vacuum cleaning robots reached 37,000. By the end of 2007, some 4.1 mln domestic robots will likely be in use, the study said. Lawnmowers will still make up the majority, but sales of window-washing and pool-cleaning robots are also set to take off, UN predicted. Sales of robot toys, like Sony’s canine AIBO, also have risen. The study said there are now about 692,000 “entertainment robots” around the world.