Why Is the Dyson Guy Making an Electric Car Instead of a Better Roomba?


We all know Dyson vacuums: the clean, yellow ball, Sir James Dyson and his perfectly posh accent saying words like "cinetics" selling us on the iPhone of home appliances. It's one of the first things, upon moving into your first apartment on your own, that you are depressed to learn you definitely cannot afford.

On Wednesday, the British government accidentally disclosed that it's working with Dyson on a new electric car.

Dyson, the vacuum's 68-year-old creator, has a history of great technological inventions, like a high-speed industrial boat and those Airblade hand dryers that sound like jet engines. But vacuums have been Dyson's biggest achievement, which has us wondering why he went for electric cars as his next project, instead of the project we really need him to dedicate his intellectual real estate to:

A Roomba that works.

Who asked for this? Robotics and artificial intelligence are the clear frontiers for emerging technologies, threatening to take our jobs and overhaul the industrial word. Other companies are putting robots to the task of writing novels and political speeches, beating world grandmasters at the ancient game of Go and trying to diagnose the world's deadliest diseases. 

Dyson makes great vacuums. That's a great space to work with. If anyone in this cold world can make a Roomba that can make a shag rug spotless and stop bashing into shit, it's Sir James Dyson himself.

In that R&D lab so heavily featured in Dyson's vacuum advertisement, he could build a Roomba that climbs stairs and doesn't miss giant swathes of dust on an otherwise clean hardwood floor.

Now there's a vacuum worth paying $350 for.