Security study on cleaning robots also shows Chinese innovative strength

René Raaijmakers
Leestijd: 8 minuten

It turns out, cleaning robots suck in data just as well as they suck in mess. This begs the question, just how private and secure are these robots? When China expert Sanne van der Lugt interviewed eight manufacturers, it also became clear to her that Chinese companies have started to outpace Western companies with more advanced and innovative products.

A China expert who is interested in cleaning robots – not an obvious combination. Yet, Sanne van der Lugt immediately dove into the machines as soon as they came her way. In recent years, she had already studied various cases where technological developments disrupted international relations, such as China’s motivation behind its own satellite positioning system and Huawei’s 5G technology that got banned by the US. When her partner came home with the message that his employer was considering selling Chinese cleaning robots in the European market, it immediately rang a bell for her.

“My boyfriend was excited because that robot from the Chinese supplier Gaussian was much more advanced than the other robots he knew,” Van der Lugt recalls. “I immediately thought: wait, China? What kind of sensors are on such a robot? What kind of data does the system collect? Where does it send its data? I saw a story there because my boyfriend emphasized that the Chinese robot was so much more advanced than the robots available on the Dutch market at that time.”

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