All right, everybody, got a new and interesting gadget for you today, so brace yourselves–the logical successor to the Roomba has reared its suctiony head, and it’s called the XV11 from Neato Robotics.
Okay, with a name like that, admittedly this sounds like it’d be a real credibility strainer. Thing sounds like a droid from Star Wars produced by a company that should’ve been featured in Fallout 3. But anyway, Neato took technology gained through the various automated driving competitions that DARPA’s been engaging in for years now and added them to the XV11. It uses a combination of lasers and Simultaneous Localization And Mapping (SLAM) technology to first make a map of the room, complete with obstruction data.
Then, once it has this map, it follows the map. Where the Roomba has to bump into things to figure out where obstructions are, the XV11 will figure out where they are BEFORE setting out.
They’ll demo at the Consumer Electronics Show this January, and should hit stores late February for a cost of $399 a unit.