American Neato Robotics Company was founded in 2005 to develop robotic vacuums. The first series of robots appeared in 2010. It was called Neato XV. In 2014, this series was renamed to BotVac. Today models under this brand successfully compete in the upper range of this segment.
The new BotVac model was presented in March 2014. It was equipped with a side brush from Vorwerk Kobold, had filter with increased area and a dust collector with increased capacity.
Improved design of brushes and housing, modernized control system, innovative sensors and increased battery capacity were the main improvements of the novelty compared to the Neato XV. Subsequently, in September 2017, Vorwerk Company bought Neato Robotics.
Neato XV models use software on the Linux kernel that is updated via the USB mini port on the back of the robot. BotVac robots use QNX Neutrino. New firmwares for BotVac Connected became available in November and December 2016. The latest version 2.2.0 creats a map with a cleaning history and provides an improved Wi-Fi connection. The software is installed on the robot through a USB using a micro-USB OTG cable.
The video at the end of the article demonstrates the simplicity and convenience of control via WiFi.
Today Neato Robotics offers 15 models of robotic vacuums that are subdivided into XV, BotVac and BotVac Connected series. Connected models use the app via Wi-Fi. The software is the only difference between the three models of the BotVac Connected series. These models support Amazon Alexa.
The navigation system uses laser and a SLAM algorithm. The laser rangefinder scans the room with a 180 degrees viewing angle, providing information for operation of the SLAM algorithm that calculates the optimal trajectory during cleaning. The laser operates in the near infrared range (785 nm). A laser diode and a photodetector (lidar) are mounted on a rotor that rotates in a horizontal plane, scanning the room. Data on obstacles and their geometry are necessary for drawing up a map of the room and control of its own location. A separate algorithm provides the filtration of moving objects. For example, a moving person in the room does not violate the work of the robot.
Of course, robots support the charging function on the dock station in automatic mode and are equipped with a large number of different sensors, including Anti-Drop Sensors.
The design of the Connected robot has not changed except for the color of the body and lidar lid.
All the main functional nodes also remained unchanged.
The main brush is located maximally in front. Horseshoe shape, probably, was chosen for this purpose. The brush width exceeds 10 inches. The side brush clears only a small gap between the edges of the brush and the housing that is about 0,4″.
A small lower bevel in the front is designed to improve the overcoming obstacles.
The graphic color LCD display and control panel with four touch buttons are located next to the lidar. The display has backlit. It displays the control menu and information messages. Two large mechanical buttons are designed for starting the local cleaning or cleaning in the house.
A large massive docking station of black smooth plastic with an increased base area has good steadiness and provides reliable contact with the robot even in case of non-ideal parking.
Filtration is performed using the Ultra Performance filter. According to the company, it provides air purification from particles with a diameter of 0.3mm and above.
2-meter magnetic tape is designed to limit the cleaning zone.
The robot has a traditional kinematic scheme. The wheels are located on the same diameter for a turning on the spot. But, the horseshoe shape slightly reduces its maneuverability.
The main brush lifts the garbage for its sucking into the dust collector.
The brush in previous BotVac models used a ball bearing. As a result, the hair and threads were often wound onto the shaft in the gap between the bearing and the end of the brush. New models use a sliding bearing with plastic protection.
The blades of the new brush have a slightly twisted shape. It reduces the noise level during cleaning because of the decrease in the area of contact with the surface.
A small side brush is very conveniently fixed with a magnet.
The model has three traditional and one new mode:
– cleaning of the whole area;
– manual control;
– Spot mode;
– Eco mode.
Eco mode is very convenient for fast cleaning.
This robot supports the function of cleaning on a schedule.
A wide and relatively heavy restrictive magnetic tape does not require special fixation on the floor. The lack of a power source is its main advantage compared to the traditional Virtual Wall.
The noise level depends on the selected mode and is 59 dB in Eco and 63 dB in Turbo mode.
– high quality of cleaning the hard floors;
– innovative navigation system;
– very large cleaning area from one battery charge;
– good steadiness of docking station;
– restrictive magnetic tape;
– support for Amazon Alexa;
– support for cleaning according to the schedule;
– control via WiFi with a very convenient app;
– effective cleaning of corners;
– Eco / Turbo modes;
– improved filter;
– high speed of cleaning;
– this robot can clean in the dark because of the lack of a camera for navigation;
– display is bright and easy to read;
– low profile provides cleaning under low furniture;
– good battery life.
– this is the most expensive model of Neato;
– the carpet cleaning mode is absent;
– not fully integrated Into the “Smart Home”.