Home Automation

How do robotic vacuum cleaners work?

Cleaning is one of the household chores that has become quick and easy. It is all thanks to appliances such as robotic vacuum cleaners. The thought of a vacuum cleaner that can clean the entire house without your efforts or supervision amazes many people. It won’t fall down the stairs while cleaning. Additionally, it will always find its way around the entire house. It also ensures that not even a single corner of your house is dirty. The fact that it also finds its way is one of the things that arouse the curiosity of many people.
Are you one of them? If yes, would you like to understand the concept of how a robotic vacuum cleaner works? All you have to do is keep reading since that’s what this piece is all about. So, without further ado, let’s dive into a discussion of how robotic vacuum cleaners work. Read on!

How do robotic vacuum cleaners clean?

Let’s first understand the cleaning aspect of robotic vacuum cleaners. Like most large vacuum cleaners, a robotic vacuum cleaner has many brushes. In most cases, it will also have a rotating brush bar. The two elements are responsible for the lifting and collection of dirt. The brushes suck the dirt up before directing it to a dust container. It is important to note that there is a filter where the dirt passes through before entering the dust container.

Once the dirt reaches the dust container, there are two possible scenarios. One of the options is emptying the robotic vacuum cleaner yourself. The other one is the cleaner ejecting the dust into a dust bin automatically upon reaching the docking station. As far as emptying the dust is concerned, what happens depends on the type of cleaner you take home. The second outcome means that the robotic cleaner can clean several times without emptying its dust cup.

Due to their circular design, the cleaner manages to clean every part of your house. That includes even the tricky parts, such as your rooms’ edges and baseboards. It is no secret that they are easy to miss, yet it is pretty common for debris and dust to settle on these places. Do you see just how good robotic vacuum cleaners are in cleaning?

How do robotic vacuum cleaners navigate?

Now that we have discussed how the vacuums clean, it is time to look at how they find their way around the house. Isn’t it intriguing how they don’t bump into things or fall downstairs? They have sensors that play a huge role in the cleaners’ navigation. These sensors fall under different types. That said and done, here is a discussion of the different sensors and other navigation elements.

⦁ Wheel Sensors
With the help of light sensors, robotic vacuum cleaners can measure their wheel rotation. Based on the wheel circumference of that particular cleaner and the number of rotations made at any one point, it is possible to calculate the distance covered.

⦁ Wall Sensors
As the name suggests, these sensors ensure that the robotic vacuum cleaners do not collide during cleaning. These sensors will help the robotic vacuum cleaners go along the walls upon detecting them. In the process, they will thoroughly clean the edges along the lines where the floor and the wall meet. Besides, the cleaner will neither bump into nor scuff the walls while at it.

⦁ Cliff sensors
We all know the consequences of tumbling down the stairs. It has seen people sustain severe injuries. In extreme cases, some people have lost their lives from similar falls. Your robotic vacuum cleaner could also suffer a similar fate if that happened. Fortunately, you don’t worry about such a situation if you own a robotic vacuum cleaner. After all, it has cliff sensors smart enough to avoid these situations. Upon sensing a change in gradient, the sensor notifies the cleaner not to move further. It will also change direction right away. It is a good way of ensuring that the robotic vacuum cleaner lasts for a long period by preventing falls.

⦁ Obstacle sensors
It is most likely the most Impressive sensor. It explains why a robotic vacuum cleaner will clean while avoiding the sofas, chairs, tables, and other obstacles it may encounter when cleaning. The obstacle sensors will ensure that the cleaner veers away whenever it comes across an obstacle. While it steers through these hindrances, don’t expect it to slow down. If the obstacle is on the right, the cleaner will go left and vice versa.

⦁ Image Mapping
Some robotic vacuum cleaners usually have onboard cameras. They will take pictures of a particular room, taking note of its layout. That will include the position of the walls, ceilings, and furniture, just but to mention a few. With that information at its disposal, the cleaner knows all too well the area to clean. Besides areas, it also identifies the best routes to follow during cleaning. So, expect it to use power efficiently and clean excellently due to the familiarity with the environment it needs to clean.

⦁ Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)
This method is similar to image mapping. However, instead of using cameras, it maps using LiDAR. Both light detection and ranging help the robotic vacuum cleaners map the various distances between them and different objects in a room. Once it has all the measurements, it creates a map to help it navigate a room. Under such circumstances, it becomes rare to use longer routes, thus saving energy and time.

Some Interesting Facts about How Robotic Vacuum Cleaners Work

⦁ Various surfaces require different care, including how you clean them. It is hard to find a house with uniform flooring in most cases. Fortunately, that’s not something to worry about when using a robotic vacuum cleaner? If one room has a hard floor whereas the other has carpet, the cleaner is smart enough to detect the difference. Upon detection, it will change accordingly.

⦁ Some robotic vacuum cleaners are compatible with various voice assistants, including Siri, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa. Consequently, all you have to do is say the work, literally, and the cleaner will start cleaning right away.

⦁ Alternatively, you can use a remote control or app to command the cleaner to start cleaning.

⦁ Since cleaning is a repetitive task, some manufacturers have made it even easier. They have a feature that allows you to schedule the cleaning time. Therefore, the robotic vacuum cleaner will know when to start cleaning, thus saving you time. It can also do the cleaning even when you are not in the house.


We hope that the working mechanism of a robotic vacuum cleaner is now at your fingertips. After all, the above article has covered a lot about the same, including how the appliance cleans and navigates. Since it is robotic, it uses pre-set rules to function. We have mentioned that it has various sensors that detect different things. Upon detecting a certain thing, let’s say a wall using the wall sensors, the robotic vacuum cleaner will react in a certain way based on what the programmers that designed it deemed fit. That’s how the robotic vacuum cleaners work without missing spots, bumping into things, or falling down the stairs.