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Honda's Latest Robot Mows Your Lawn

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Beth Stackpole
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Re: Be still my heart!
Beth Stackpole   9/6/2012 7:10:27 AM
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I hear you, Rich. Lots of opportunity for scares--entertaining some, and others, potentially scary. Now what about one of these guys for racking up the leaves now that we're hitting fall season, or spreading mulch, for that matter. Now that would really be a technological advance and would sign me up for the little guy ASAP.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Too much automation?
Rob Spiegel   9/6/2012 11:55:01 AM
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How does it do in cutting the lawn, RW? Does it just wander around until all areas are cut? Do you have to direct it? Does it operate all the time?

RW
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Iron
Re: Too much automation?
RW   9/6/2012 12:14:05 PM
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Hi Rob. It does what they call a roboscan and follows the wire around the edge of the yard. From what I can tell it uses a compass, since it doesnt have GPS, and then calculates dimensions of the yard. It then employs a special piece of software that tells it the best way to cut the lawn. SInce it cant track perfectly straight, they sue a cross hatch style cut pattern cutting one diagonal direction with 5-6 spaces between, then when it gets to the end of the lawn it turns at 90 degrees to the orignal cuts and does the same thing. It changes its entry point every time it leaves the perimeter from day to day so that the pattern is not the same. On my .5 acres if you were to leave the grass to get very long, you would notice that the mower misses about 5% of the lawn leaving little clumps the size of a baseball here and there. The next time it goes out, it will usually get all those spots. Once regular cutting begins the missed spots are never long enough to notice so this tenchique seems towork well. As I stated earlier my yard always looks like a golf course :)


You can manually take control of the mower with a simple remote on top if you want to cut areas outside the perimter wire or strange areas it cant normally get to. You can also drive from one zone to another if you have multiple unattached cut areas (back yard vs front yard)

 

My mower goes out every couple days while we sleep at night and takes about 2-3 hrs to do its job. Its very quiet. When I do allow it out on weekends during the day so I can watch it, many of the neighbours gather round to watch also lol. We have also had some looky loos watch from the street with much excitement. Their comments are usually quite humorous. My robomower docks behind my house so that noone can see it on display (theft). I have considered building a house for it to drive into that protects it, but I live in such a remote area amongst farms that I'm not concerned about neighbours taking it and noone really messes around in our neighbourhood (the farmers tend to have guns lol). If I lives in a downtown area, I would probably stick to locking it up and just manuually setting it free every couple days. Its just a simple push the go butto nand it starts cutting.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Too much automation?
Rob Spiegel   9/6/2012 12:40:29 PM
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Thanks for the link, Chuck. So it looks like there is some competition out there, which makes Honda's $3,000 price tag a bit surprising.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Too much automation?
Rob Spiegel   9/6/2012 1:23:46 PM
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Good information, RW. Does it park itself when it has complete its rounds. Can you program it to awake every few days (say if you're on vacation)? How does it do in the rain (which could happen while you're sleeping).

RW
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Iron
Re: Too much automation?
RW   9/6/2012 1:56:10 PM
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Yes when it finishes it follows the perimeter wire which runs under its dock. When it docks it hits two paddles which recharge the batteries.


It is fully programmable to go out and cut whenever you like. Any day any time. Mine goes out Monday, wednesday, friday  at 2am by schedule, and then I manualy let it out once over the weekend as well during the day just to watch it run as its very ammusing lol.

It doesn't do well in the rain if you have hills as the tires slip. It has a rain sensor though that you can enable or disable. I enable the sensor since I have hills which means if it rains it doesnt go out that day. If you had a flat yard it would do just fine. The clippings it generates are so tiny that you dont end up clogging the mower up like an ordinary mower would after rain.

William K.
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Robot Lawnmower
William K.   9/6/2012 4:45:39 PM
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Very interesting indeed. But the cost is a big deal also.  It takes as long to unroll the cord of my electric lawnmower as it doesto mow the lawn. So I do wonder about the value provided to me by an automated mowwer. For a 5 acre lawn it could make sense, but for a really small lawn even a powered mower is a stretch. Every once in a while though, it seems that it might be handy to have some robot do the mowing, mostly when the weather is really hot.

Charles Murray
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Re: Too much automation?
Charles Murray   9/6/2012 8:33:16 PM
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I haven't heard whether Friendly Robotics is still selling Robo-Mowers, Rob. I see they still have a web site, but they seem to have disappeared. There's an old saying that when it comes to innovation, it's better to be second, rather than first. That saying may apply here.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Too much automation?
Rob Spiegel   9/7/2012 12:27:26 PM
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RW, the rain sensor and the automatic re-charging sound like great additional features. It will be interesting to see if this market takes off. With Honda's high price tag, it sounds like there is plenty of room for competition.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Too much automation?
Rob Spiegel   9/7/2012 1:17:09 PM
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Good point, Chuck. It seems there are a number of robot lawn mowers on the market now. Here's a comparison:

http://www.probotics.com/robotic-lawn-mowers/robot-mower-quick-comparison.htm

One of them, called the BigMow sells for nearly $13,000.

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