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Is Roomba’s throne at risk? Neato XV-11 maps obstacles

By Damir Beciri
26 December 2009

neato-xv-11-1In our last article we started a mini-series named “Is Roomba’s throne at risk?” where we wrote about AGAiT Technology E-Cleaner EC01. Neato Robotics, a Silicon Valley startup, is pioneering new products to free people from household chores, introduced a new home robot vacuum cleaner that raises the bar for automated floor cleaning. The Neato XV-11 all-floor vacuum system is the first mass-market consumer robot to offer Room Positioning System (RPS) Technology that uses laser vision to map your entire floor space and avoids most obstacles that other robots can only detect by impact.

Compared to other vacuuming robots, Neato Robotics engineers have created a simply smarter robot by using more advanced technology that thoroughly cleans an area in less time. The energy savings from its cleaning efficiency has been redirected to the most powerful robotic vacuum system based on jet engine design, which allows it to pick up all types of debris. At the vacuum’s core is a centrifugal compression impeller that follows jet engine airflow principles. It creates sustained high-powered suction, allowing the Neato XV-11 to thoroughly pick up dirt and debris.

The Neato XV-11 is designed to clean floors on a daily basis, thus ensuring owners enjoy neater, healthier homes and more free time for themselves. It is lower than 10cm and its low profile allows it to clean under beds, sofas, and toe-kicks in the kitchen. The robot vacuum cleaner’s D-shape allows it to better clean the corners of a room compared to other circular-shaped robots by givint it 0.66 liters, however it doesn’t give it a significant advantage regarding more volume.

The Neato XV-11 is the first mapping robot with intelligent path planning and cleaning. Using Room Positioning System (RPS) Technology, the Neato XV-11 has a 360-degree view of a room, allowing it to map the details including walls, furniture, doorways and other obstacles up to four meters away. The robot’s RPS technology constantly updates its internal map so it can accurately detect objects greater than four inches in height and carefully clean around them without damaging furniture and walls.

As its robotic cleaning rivals it also automatically returns to its base to recharge itself after completing its cleaning. With its easy-to-use interface, consumers can schedule the robot to clean every day, resulting in a more spotless home.

Unlike other cleaning robots that randomly bounce around a room, the Neato XV-11 maps the room with its RPS technology. It then methodically cleans floors using SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping) technology and path planning algorithms to outline the area to clean and then fully clean within the space in a back-and-forth pattern.

“Our team of Neato engineers, some of whom are career roboticists, have worked tirelessly to squeeze innovation from commodity computing products and pioneer a smarter, more powerful robot vacuum than any previously seen on the market,” said Max Safai, chief executive officer of Neato Robotics. “We are providing all types of people – including busy families, working professionals, pet owners and seniors – with an incredibly simple and effective solution to keep homes neat and clean so they can spend less time cleaning and more time doing what they enjoy.”

Although it is the most advanced and efficient cleaning robot so far, its price (50% higher than the standard Roomba’s price) may persuade the buyers to switch to some of the competition. On the other hand, if they manage to lower the price, Roomba gets a serious competitor.

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