All cleaning robots I found so far sold in stores, for cleaning an house, are not walking robots but rather short, wheeled robots.

I assume that walking robots could have way more sophisticated maneuvers in cleaning as they could more easily climb stairs, and lean towards, or navigate in or operate tools in narrow caveats.

Should a walking robot necessarily be a better cleaning robot than a wheeled robot?

Are there mathematical/algorithmic explanations to how (or something close)?

If the phrasing of the question is bad, please help me by suggesting an edit or by comments.

  • $\begingroup$ I think that this question is defining 'better' cleaning in terms of breadth and depth (both things it can do and how well it can do them), but it would be good to clarify what you mean by editing your question. Current 'cleaning' robots mostly only do one thing (vacuum cleaning floors) and are neither as powerful, nor as high capacity as hand operated vacuums, and still need to be emptied manually. $\endgroup$
    – Mark Booth
    Commented Feb 11, 2020 at 11:16

2 Answers 2


“Better” is ambiguous. A walking robot could certainly get to some places that a wheeled robot could not - steps are a good example. But it would have challenges getting low enough to go under some objects.

You should consider the entire requirements of a vacuuming robot, though. Access and navigation are just some of the requirements. What about battery life? Wheeled travel is more efficient on smooth surfaces than walking. What about affordability? Would you create a walking robot that can travel everywhere a human can, yet can only run for 5 minutes and costs more than a consumer is willing to spend?

NASA has funded the development of a hybrid rolling/walking design that may help merge solutions to some of the competing requirements: NASA Tech Transfer

I suggest that you consider the problem as a whole rather than focusing only on locomotion.

  • $\begingroup$ Good answer. At the moment it is important to know that wheeled robots are significantly easier for autonomous control than legged robots. $\endgroup$
    – koverman47
    Commented Feb 11, 2020 at 0:23

This is a very subjective issue question. Better meaning what? Better battery life, cleaning, efficiency? Overall I think wheeled is better as the brushed motors for the wheels are easier to produce and way more reliable than a walker bot. Plus with a walker bot, I’m not sure about how you’d get it low enough to suck up any debris.


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