For some people, mowing the lawn is a meditative experience—a chance to tune out the everyday stress while getting a little exercise and taking in all the sights and sounds of the outdoors. It’s good old-fashioned domestic work. For others law mowing is nothing but a numbingly repetitive, sweaty, noisy waste of time – a time that could be spent doing something much more productive. So, for those people who loth the thought of having to cut the lawn there are now robotic lawn mowers available to do the job…. if you can get past their very high price tag.
For the most part, autonomous grass cutters have been around for the past 10 years and have been very popular in Europe, accounting for roughly $170 million spent on them this year, which is up 30 percent from 2011. It’s only been recently that autonomous grass cutting has caught on here in North America.
In order for any of these mowers to work a thin wire is pegged around the perimeter of your yard and around obstacles that are lower than 4 inches high. This wire connects to the charging base station. For most models the base duals as a transmitter, which sends a low voltage signal around the wire so the mower can “see” this signal with great accuracy – even in total darkness. Which means you could do all your mowing at night. To mow, it backs out of its charging station, follows the boundary wire to specific parts of your yard (front yard, back yard, side and so on) then mows inside that zone and so the robot can sense when it has reached the prescribed boundary, then back up, turn randomly, and proceed off in another direction. Once it’s done or the batteries are low, it follows the wire back to the charging base while trimming the border to self-charge. Most models can determine the current weather and stay tucked into their charge station until the grass has dried.
In order for these devices to cope with outdoor garden terrain, steep slopes, animals or even kids they tend to use a special sensor technology to stay within a defined area of a yard and are typically able to avoid obstacles such as trees and lawn furniture and inquisitive animals. Normally, once they bump into something the mower is programmed to move or turn in another direction. It can also handle inclines and declines as well using an infrared tracking technology to determine steep slopes. When it comes to kids, it looks like it is common place to try and ride them which prompted many companies to put stickers on the top of the mowers to remind parents not to let kids sit on them.
Even though these mowers uses very low power, you can still cut your fingers or toes if they get in contact with the blade. A built-in safety feature means the blade will automatically stop if the mower is lifted up or turned over. The distance between the outer body and the blade tip is also extra-long to avoid feet or hands from accidentally reaching the blades. Even so, its recommend turning off the robotic mower when small children are playing on the lawn.
Even though prices seem to start at about $2500.00 CAD, it can be seen as a dedicated mulching system, and the healthiest way to manage clippings for your lawn. Many models mulch your grass at 3000-4000 RPM without creating wind speed. The result is very quiet mower and a more effective mulcher than most conventional lawn mowers, leaving smaller clippings that disappear into the roots of the grass. These smaller clippings provide for quick decomposition into a natural fertilizer for your lawn.
Also too, since they run on batteries, there are no emissions generated by the mower, and the actual energy consumption is very low. The running costs are only around 10 to 50 dollars per season for the electricity consumed, depending on the size of the lawn.
Anyone worried about getting their robot mower stolen most models usually include a theft deterrent system, which enables you to select a personal code that must be entered for each use. Many of these mowers are totally useless to anyone else without that code. Also, I do believe there is an option to add a GPS tracker unit to locate it if it does get stolen. However, in the worse case scenario, theft of property is usually covered in your homeowner’s insurance.
Husqvarna seems to be one of the pioneers in this catagory and you can find more information on their website at: www.husqvarna.ca. Also, if you go to www.robotshop.com you’ll find under their Robots for the House & Recreation section their own RoboMow models available for purchase.