In the robot world, vacuums don't rank very high on the intelligence scale. They're usually programmed to aimlessly wander around and clean until they run out of power, and hopefully by that point they've randomly hit every inch of your floors. With the Scout RX1, Miele takes a better approach by using a camera pointed at your ceiling to track where the robot's cleaned.
Other robot vacuums have used similar approaches, but usually require a separate device that projects an invisible infra-red pattern on the ceiling to improve accuracy. The Scout RX1 simply has a high-quality digital camera pointed at the ceiling at all times, working alongside a built-in gyroscopic sensor so it knows where it's been, and where it needs to go.
Not only does this approach mean the RX1 won't randomly miss a spot, it also allows the robo-vac to clean using parallel runs back and forth across a room—so it's faster and prolongs battery life, allowing it to clean multiple rooms before needing a charge.
Seven forward-facing infra-red sensors ensure the $900 Scout RX1 won't accidentally crash into your furniture or a wall, while three additional sensors on the underside prevent it from driving off stairs.
On a full charge Miele claims the RX1 will run for around two hours on its lowest setting, and thanks to its ever-seeing camera it can return to its charging base on its own—and then automatically resume cleaning exactly where it left off. Try and get your kids to do that after they've had lunch on cleaning day and you'll immediately see the value of Miele's autonomous alternative. [Miele via Appliancist]