Neato Botvac Connected Robot Vacuum Adds Amazon Alexa Voice Control

Amazon Alexa voice control allows you to start, stop, pause, and resume the Botvac Connected's cleaning cycle.


Robot vacuums are already easy to use. One of the main selling points is that you can schedule them to clean while you’re not around. Set it and forget it.

Well, Neato Robotics just made its Botvac Connected robot vacuum even easier to use by adding Amazon Alexa voice control. Now you can use your voice to start, stop, pause and resume the cleaning cycle of the Botvac Connected by talking to an Amazon Echo or Amazon Echo Dot.

Saying “Alexa, ask Neato to start cleaning” will fire up the robot vacuum. Check out Neato’s other variances for this phrase and others that work with Alexa at the bottom of this page.

This is the first Neato robot vacuum that works with Amazon Alexa. Neato has rolled out this feature across the US and UK, and the company plans to add it in Germany later in 2016. Samsung’s VR9000 POWERbot robot vacuum also works with Amazon Alexa via Samsung SmartThings. iRobot’s Roomba line of robot vacuums doesn’t support Alexa yet.

Nancy Nunziati, VP of marketing at Neato, tells Robotics Trends the company, at the advice of the Amazon Alexa team, is simply dipping its toes into voice control at this point. “We can roll out an additional library of commands at any time,” Nunziati says. “As people become more comfortable with [voice control], we’ll certainly roll out more features.”

Nunziati says Neato’s next step for voice control could explore adding commands that are already found on the Neato Robotics App. For example, you could tell Alexa to schedule the Botvac Connected to clean every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 10 AM. Or you could switch the robot vacuum between its Eco and Turbo modes by telling Alexa.

As for telling the Botvac Connected to clean a certain room or a part of a room, Nunziati says that is a little further down the line. Building the voice control into the vacuum itself is also tricky. One of the issues is that most powerful robot vacuums are loud, which could potentially cause problems when someone talks directly to the robot vacuum. “Having an intermediary [device] like Amazon Echo is more practical at this point,” she says.

Robot Vacuum Comparison: Neato Botvac D3 Connected vs. Botvac D5 Connected

This isn’t an exclusive deal with Amazon, so Neato will likely roll out voice control support for other virtual assistants, such as Google Home. For those who own both a Botvac Connected and Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, simply enable the Neato skill in the Amazon Alexa App to activate the voice control capabilities. The Botvac Connected robot vacuum also works with the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices.

On an episode of The Robotics Trends Show, Kenn Harper, Nuance’s VP of Devices & Ecosystem, described a scenario where robot vacuums could benefit from a user interface that combined speech and gesture control. Harper said a user could point a finger in a certain direction and simultaneously tell the robot vacuum, “go clean over there.” Essentially, gestures could be used as an additional sensor to help the robot better understand your command.

“Building voice control into the robot vacuum is certainly being looked at,” Nunziati says. “Because [the robot vacuum] always knows where it is in the house and where it needs to go, there’s a lot of interesting things that can happen. We have wizards in the lab working on different interfaces.”

Neato didn’t know how many of its customers also own Amazon Alexa devices, but the company is running a promotion to boost awareness of the new voice control capabilities. Between Black Friday and December 23, 2016, anyone in the US who buys a Botvac Connected robot vacuum on Amazon receives an Amazon Echo Dot for free.

Is this the start of an Alexa-controlled robot vacuum trend? While that’s probably a safe bet, some crafty DIYers have had voice-controlled robot vacuums for some time. Check out these videos below.

 

Amazon Alexa and Neato Botvac Connected: Successful Commands and Variances

User: Alexa, ask Neato to start cleaning.
Other variances:

Alexa, ask Neato to clean.
Alexa, ask Neato to run.
Alexa, ask Neato to vacuum.
Alexa, ask Neato can you start cleaning
Alexa, ask Neato to begin cleaning
Alexa, ask Neato to start my device
Alexa, ask Neato to please start cleaning
Alexa, ask Neato can you start my cleaning
Alexa, ask Neato to clean my floor
Alexa, ask Neato to start cleaning my floor
Alexa, ask Neato to start vacuuming my floor
Alexa, ask Neato to vacuum my floor
Alexa, ask Neato to clean up my mess
Alexa, ask Neato to clean my house
Alexa, ask Neato to start the vacuum
Alexa, ask Neato i need to clean the floor
Alexa, ask Neato to start vacuuming
Alexa, ask Neato to start my robot
Alexa, ask Neato to start my botvac
Alexa, ask Neato to start my bot

User: Alexa, ask Neato to stop cleaning.
Other variances:

Alexa, ask Neato to stop vacuuming.
Alexa, ask Neato to stop the device
Alexa, ask Neato to stop the vacuum
Alexa, ask Neato to stop my device
Alexa, ask Neato to stop my vacuum
Alexa, ask Neato to turn off
Alexa, ask Neato to turn it off
Alexa, ask Neato to stop now
Alexa, ask Neato to stop my robot
Alexa, ask Neato to stop my botvac
Alexa, ask Neato to stop the botvac
Alexa, ask Neato to stop the robot

User: Alexa, ask Neato to pause cleaning.
Other variations:

Alexa, ask Neato to pause.
Alexa, ask Neato to pause vacuuming.
Alexa, ask Neato to please pause
Alexa, ask Neato to pause the device
Alexa, ask Neato to pause my device
Alexa, ask Neato to pause it
Alexa, ask Neato can you pause it
Alexa, ask Neato to put it on pause
Alexa, ask Neato to pause the vacuum
Alexa, ask Neato to please pause my device
Alexa, ask Neato to pause the robot
Alexa, ask Neato to pause my robot
Alexa, ask Neato to pause my botvac
Alexa, ask Neato to pause the botvac

User: Alexa, ask Neato to resume cleaning.
Other variations:

Alexa, ask Neato to resume.
Alexa, ask Neato to resume vacuuming.
Alexa, ask Neato to keep vacuuming
Alexa, ask Neato to continue vacuuming
Alexa, ask Neato to keep cleaning
Alexa, ask Neato to keep going
Alexa, ask Neato to resume cleaning




About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
Contact Steve Crowe: scrowe@ehpub.com  ·  View More by Steve Crowe.




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