There are already more robot vacuum cleaners in people’s homes than many species of intelligent animals boast in absolute numbers. Although these machines are effective at simple tasks, they are not yet as intelligent as any of our pets. They have only a few sensors and do not really understand very much at all about the world they live in.
Still, lots and lots of start-ups and established companies want to build more sophisticated domestic robots, as there is a belief that developing home automatons is going to be a big growth area. I believe that this trend will continue, driven largely by rapidly aging populations in Japan, Korea, Europe, North America, and even China. To help us grow old, the next generation of domestic robots is going to have a much richer sensory world.