Everyone's heard of iRobot's Roomba, but hardly anyone's heard of Neato. Their biggest feature, and the reason you should pay attention to them, is that rather than sweeping back and forth randomly in a room like the Roomba does, this actually maps the room and cleans methodically.
From their FAQ:
What is “intelligent cleaning”?
The Neato XV-11 maps its surroundings in a
room and determines the doorways when first analyzing a room. It
determines the best path to take and starts cleaning the perimeter of
the area and then uses a methodical back and forth straight-line
pattern to complete the interior. It follows this method, cleaning
your house segment by segment.
What are the benefits of the methodical straight-line cleaning of
the Neato XV-11 versus the random bounce-around cleaning of other
By using a methodical straight line path to
clean, Neato ensures there will be complete floor coverage in a timely
manner. Since it can cover the floor in one pass, the Neato vacuum
cleaning robot can use more of its energy with stronger suction power
for its vacuum as compared to other bounce-around robots.