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Roombas: Are They Automobiles?

Illustration for article titled 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.

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.


Here’s a fucking shark.


“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?


Fine. Here’s a baby riding one.


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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