Robotic lawn mower


#1

My ideal lawn mower is a robot. Rumba vacuums are not robots, but dumb substandard vacuums with mindless wondering, bumping into walls and going some place else. This does not work outdoors, where the problem is different. Current offering are the mindless kind needing complex electric guidance fences. Terrible and overpriced.

To start make a really powerful lawn mower, with two 60v batteries. Make it for the normal mowing application with powered wheels and handle for user guidance with controls. However make the front wheels pivot and the two rear wheels independently guided. And allow the handles and controls to be temporally removed.

Then add a robot feature. Not a separate compromised product. Current middle school students can program robots made to compete with other robots, avoid obstacles, perform complex tasks, and respond to adverse environment actually intended to defeat the other robot. Drones fly in three dimensions at 25 miles per hour, avoid objects, identify a person and follow them. If 12 years can do this you can make a robot that mows the lawn as an add on feature.

Then the user can ask the robot to watch him mow the lawn, and remember the user mowing the lawn, and the robot can do that over and over again. Nothing pleases an OCD more than being imitated for the value he creates.

Control this with WiFi control like a Nest temperature control. Make schedules, monitor the weather for rain and dew point. Heck I can have the weather app tell me the ideal time for a bike ride, why not the mower the ideal time to mow the yard.

Adding surveillance video (camera on board), can be for other vendors, but it is a safety feature many will want.

If you understand what you are doing, the proof would be that a Homeowners Associations could send the mower out to mow 50 parking strips on three streets (for example).

Adopt an industry standard for all this.

It is beyond the scope of this request but you can imagine a single robotic lawn mower doing all the lawns in the neighborhood. Memory and computing capacity is not a limitation today, only your vision.


#2

I say we just engineer the grass to grow to a predetermined height and eliminate the lawn mower altogether.


#3

much better solution. but robotic mower are technically doable now.


#4

I was about to say have you bothered to look at any of them at the market. John Deere, Husqvarna, and many others now make robomowers. Infact I think one company is called Robomow.

ANyway - big issue with them is battery life, weight and traction. Most are meant to do the whole clip off just the tips - as is 1/8 inch in a pass sort of thing. They have a number of different control versions from follow the antenna wire to record a controlled path. The cheapest ones use the antenna wire system - and they couple that with a forward bump sensor so as to avoid things in the middle of the area.

Battery some can run a few hours off at a time. You pay more for that but if you have say 3 acres to cover is when that comes into play - otherwise the machine can get it self too far away from the home base and die in the field.

They have pick up sensors and lock codes so if someone was to pick it up and try to run away with it it will alarm. and some follow that with a required code key to reactivate or to turn off the alarm. (the husquvarna does this I know)

But traction - there are few that come with the ability to tolerate more than a 7% slope - and fewer that come with wheels designed to work with taller grasses. Ie if you like to let your bermuda grass get up to say 3.5 or so inches in the summer - some of the lighter devices will have troubles. The slope bit is what killed it for me - supposedly none of them could make it up my 14% slope front yard. I even had the husqvarna test device and it made a few passes but it wasn’t able to do it repeatedly.


#5

All robotic vacuums are not equal. Some brands/models have pretty good AI / obstacle avoidance.

Existing robot mowers are not far from your requirements, but dang! They’re expensive! If upgraded to bigger blade, batteries, charging, wheels, and bearings, they would almost double in price. They would still be only 16-18" mowing width. Every inch greater width requires a huge increase in power and frame requirements. I think the market for a truly practical (and expensive) robot mower would be extremely small. For me to consider one, it would have to cost under 5K and have a 5 year warranty on most parts.


#6

you might be surprised - probably 5 or more neighbors in my area have them now our of a place with 31 houses. And if I had a flatter yard and say 1/4 acre less of bush and trees I’d probably have one too. For 2400 or so - like I paid for my cub cadet tractor - I could have gotten into the bigger husquvarna device. It’s like anything else nobody pays retail. but regardless - in that same price I would have gotten one and had it been able to deal with my terrain it would have been great.

I would edge and trim with my normal kit - plan for the automow to kick off whenever (even if I wasn’t home) and I’d shave another 2 hours off my summer weekly MX cycle. Every week.

Only thing is - now I have a tractor for pulling my cart full of leaves or dirt or whatever. and it runs a sprayer if I want to - and I can use it to throw fertilizer.

all things the robot can’t do. For the guy down the road from me with 1/2 acre of flat grass land - the thing is about perfect and he got away with the smaller husqvarna device. So there is a sweet spot for using one.