You’ll find robots in just about every industry these days. They’re driving forklifts, flipping burgers, building your cars and even dancing a jig (better than you do, probably). It seems there are few places you won’t find robotics of some kind, in the 21st century world and now, they’ve muscled in on your lawnmower guy too.
Are we really ready to say goodbye to Jimmy, his local mower service complete with awkward teenage angst and aroma of Lynx Africa, to make way for these futuristic, robot-vacuum-like machines? Like much of the robotic technology landscape, robotic lawnmowers have come a long way in recent years. In fact, it seems that they’ve only recently crept on to the scene…sneaking quietly into backyards and making chicken feed of those Buffalo grasses. A few short years ago, you’d have been hard pressed to get your hands on one of these machines. Nowadays however, you’ll find retail offerings from the likes of Husqvarna and Worx, as well as specialist manufacturers such as Robomow, for as little as USD$1000.
While their motor capacities, output and cutting radiuses vary, it is still generally accepted that the robot lawnmower is (much like its cousin, the robot vacuum) best suited to well-maintained lawns which aren’t too unruly. Let that grass go for too long, and you’ll need to call up Jimmy and get him to tame the beast a little before you set your robo-mower on the loose again.
Despite their limits, these clever little machines boast quite a bit of tech. Husqvarna’s Automower 220 machine offers rain sensors, as does Worx’s aptly named Landroid M. Sensing foul weather, the little bots will cease operations and head back to their bases, standing at attention and awaiting further instruction. Robomow’s little bot features a smartphone app which will allow the user to control operations remotely, from the comfort of their lattes. If that’s not a reason to head out and buy a robot mower right now, we don’t know what is.
With a range of blade options and cutting heights, your mower choice will affect the breadth of operations; including how closely borders are trimmed, and how quickly your lawn can be tackled. Battery life also varies between makes and models, and if you’re looking to purchase one of these little lawn-tamers, you’d be best spending a some time understanding their per-charge range and cutting radius versus your lawn’s size.
While they’re not going to tackle the most overgrown of lawns, and are generally limited to between 1/2 and 3/4 acres per charge, robotic lawn mowers certainly have the potential to make life a little easier, if used regularly. With some very competitive offerings on the market, they’re no longer a science fiction dream, and are instead a real option for those wishing to cut a little time out of their lawn maintenance regime.