Looks like a robot vacuum cleaner war is brewing.
Neato Robotics has just launched its Neato XV-11, an all-floor robotic vacuum cleaner that appears to have the right stuff to give iRobot's Roomba some serious competition.
The XV-11 takes pride in its proprietary navigational system called RPS (room positioning system). This system entails the use of lasers to scan the room to pinpoint the location of doorways, furniture, and objects before proceeding with its vacuuming chores. Once scanning is complete, it runs along the perimeters of the room before proceeding in straight, back-and-forth paths in the inner areas.
By contrast, the Roomba makes use of "follow" and "bounce" algorithms which can appear unsystematic. Some Roomba paths have been captured using long exposure and were featured here in a previous article, so you can click that link if you want to see what we mean.
While the Roomba constantly bumps furniture to navigate the room, XV-11's RPS allows it to avoid bumping furniture and other objects. Furthermore, since its lasers can help it identify doorways, the Neato robot can be confined to just one room unless it is set to clean multiple rooms. The same lasers allow it to identify stairs or edges where it can fall off, and avoid them.
Its rectangular front is designed to suck dirt from corners, areas that are difficult for the Roomba to reach due to its front's circular shape. The folks at Neato also claim that the XV-11's vacuum, which is patterned from jet engine airflow principles, is the most powerful among all robotic vacuum cleaners in the market.
Like the high-end models of the Roomba, the XV-11 also comes with a docking station where it returns to when its battery runs low.
So what do you think? Should Colin Angle and company start designing their next generation Roombas?