An understanding of how humans and robots can successfully interact to accomplish specific tasks is crucial in creating more sophisticated robots that may eventually become an integral part of human societies. A social robot needs to be able to learn the preferences and capabilities of the people with whom it interacts so that it can adapt its behaviors for more efficient and friendly interaction. Advances in human– computer interaction technologies have been widely used in improving human–robot interaction (HRI). It is now possible to interact with robots via natural communication means such as speech. In this paper, an innovative approach for HRI via voice-controllable intelligent user interfaces is described. The design and implementation of such interfaces are described. The traditional approaches for human–robot user interface design are explained and the advantages of the proposed approach are presented. The designed intelligent user interface, which learns user preferences and capabilities in time, can be controlled with voice. The system was successfully implemented and tested on a Pioneer 3-AT mobile robot. 20 participants, who were assessed on spatial reasoning ability, directed the robot in spatial navigation tasks to evaluate the effectiveness of the voice control in HRI. Time to complete the task, number of steps, and errors were collected. Results indicated that spatial reasoning ability and voice-control were reliable predictors of efficiency of robot teleoperation. 75% of the subjects with high spatial reasoning ability preferred using voice-control over manual control. The effect of spatial reasoning ability in teleoperation with voice-control was lower compared to that of manual control.