EThere may be households with more animals than people. Ours is one of those. Four cats and two dogs enrich the lives of the two owners. We are happy to accept that the animals produce a lot of dirt in addition to having a lot of fun, at least most of the time. In times when dogs and cats change fur, the mood fluctuates, flakes of dust and fur take over. Hardly vacuumed, the first dust formations cavort again not only in the corners.
This is where the D8 vacuum robot from the Californian manufacturer Neato comes into play. We named him James because we got to know James from the Neato hotline right from the start. The robot did not find its charging station, and if we docked it directly, it would not charge. It was Saturday evening, so you don’t actually vacuum, but the hotline was still available, but only in English.
James solved the problem. From then on, the D8 bears his name and does a demanding job in our household. The dust container holds 0.7 liters, a little more than the competition. With us it fills up quickly, so as a precaution we empty it after every house cleaning. It’s quick and easy and is always accompanied by astonishment at what James has collected again. It’s also exciting to watch him. At first he’s like a baby. He moves his tracks and circles and strange turns through the rooms rather haphazardly. He seems confused and wanders from the living room into the kitchen, although he is obviously not finished there yet. He returns from the kitchen to the living room, pushes the corridor somewhere in between and finally, after a good 40 minutes, is of the opinion that everything is now clean. Well he drives back to his charging station and docks with some strange jerking.
We watch him spellbound, bend down and kneel on the floor to watch him maneuver himself through difficult terrain under the couch. Yes, in the beginning he sometimes bumps in front of furniture feet and other things that stand in his way, but there is no damage. Over time, he learns and grows up. He recognizes his surroundings to be cleaned and no longer tries to climb up sloping furniture. He frees himself from almost all difficult situations. The sensors that prevent people from falling down the stairs work reliably, so after a while we can let James work without supervision without any problems.
Provided the dogs are out of the house. Because while the cats don’t care about him, the dogs see it a little differently. James knows his way to the charging station and he always takes the same one. If a dog suddenly gets in the way, husky obstinacy meets robot obstinacy. James nudges the dog’s nose, drives back, drives forward, and nudges again, and again and again. The husky remains unimpressed. The wiser gives in, it is said, and so at some point James decides to drive around the dog, of course not without giving him one on the side. He simply wipes the whole bushy tail aside so that he comes directly to his station.