The new robotic vacuum can be fully operated from your smartphone with an integrated, laser-guided floor-mapping system
After a budding industry sent us a series of impressive, yet ugly autonomous vacuums to grace our homes, someone at Neato Robotics decided to finally update the staple appliance’s design. Besides bringing long-overdue upgrades to its system, Neato is eyeing multiple sales per customer with the specially-designed and IoT-integrated Botvac, which connects to WiFi and can be controlled by one’s smartphone from afar.
Neato is not interested in your purchase of just one machine, hoping your family or business will invest in one on each floor if you can pop the $700 price tag.
Laser-guided mapping and a two-hour battery life
The new Neato model can work in two modes: economic and standard, which allows it to wander the house for two solid hours, or the more powerful turbo mode for an hour and a half, plenty of time to cover a standard household. Once its battery is under charged, it moves back to its charging station on its own.
With that, it is important to remember that the machine’s waste storage is limited. The dirtier the floor, the less ground the machine will cover, and the more time it will need to wait for you to come home and empty it out before continuing its work.
In a demonstration at IFA 2015 in Berlin, we got to test drive the robot. We were able to confirm the company definitely has succeeded in building a simple and intuitive app, available in iOS or Android. You can set the machine to clean house while you’re at the office, to set an extended schedule of cleaning times or instruct it to return to its dock if it’s overloaded with dirt. But our favorite feature is definitely being able to control it like a remote-controlled car.
Yeah, driving a robotic vacuum with arrows on a touch screen via smartphone can give you a few minutes of fun. However, at the end of the day, is something like this useful?
Complete and direct control over the device by app makes it more than just convenient. If you have multiple bots, you can control all of them simultaneously with the same application from afar.
On the technical side, the new model includes a definite upgrade in the waste storage compartment and new filters which the company says is better than anything else on the market. The laser-based mapping system is now on top of the vacuum’s system. As opposed to Neato’s competitors, who base their systems on algorithms, the startup has been committed to a laser system since its inception.
While we’re on the subject of competition, remember Dyson’s 360 Eye that they revealed one year ago at IFA 2014? Despite all the headlines, there is still no launch date set. Its $1,250 price tag also makes it an expensive commodity, raising doubts if the company’s branding efforts will be enough to convince consumers not to go for cheaper options.
So when is it hitting the shelves? Neato says that people should expect it in stores in time for this year’s holiday season.