Roombas: Are They Automobiles?

Photo: Roomba

When somebody says automobile, they are usually talking about those four-wheeled things with internal combustion engines. But what about my robot vacuum?

Robot vacuums have some similarities with what we would typically call an automobile: they have motors and wheels, at least one of which can turn.

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Sure, they are usually round and not the rectangular shape we are used to, but shape does not define something as an automobile. BMW Isetta: kinda roundish. Oscar Mayer Weinermobile: wiener shaped. Both clearly automobiles. 

But what about the fact that they don’t have passengers? Well for one, here’s a cat riding a Roomba.

Here’s a dog.

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Here’s a fucking shark.

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“But what about human passengers?” You ask.

What about human passengers? Are we so egotistical to think that everything is about us; that automobiles cannot be automobiles just because a human can’t be made mobile by them?

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Fine. Here’s a baby riding one.

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A robot vacuum is just going to the places where you would be going with a regular vacuum if you didn’t have a robot vacuum. It is so much an automobile that it prevents you from needing to be mobile at all.

Robot vacuums are automobiles.

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