Conceptually, of course, it's an attractive notion.... pragmatically, however, I doubt that I can endorse it. I would have serious concerns, regardless of sophistication of object detection logic, related to leaving an unattended object with whirling blades roving unsupervised in my yard. I doubt that my homeowners insurance agent would approve either. (I would certainly have to bring the dog inside!) Beyond the issues of liability, I seriously doubt that any algorithm (at least none that I can imagine - been an embedded programmer for 30 years...) would successfully navigate and attend to the nuances of yard-flush flower beds, irregularly shaped swimming pool aprons, etc.
I suspect I would spend a lot of time mopping up all of the missed areas and explaining to my wife where the tulips have gone!
As a skeptic/contrarian/curmudgeon/naysayer/etc, I can see a bunch of dark edges. Like if you have a team of these, you might want to invest in some security to keep your $3000 toys from running off with the neighbor kids! That said (and a lot of stuff unsaid), I have to admit that this little product delights me. Probably not good for my hilly lawn. Probably only good for golf greens, etc... I'd still love to see one in action. :-) And as we creep toward the enlightened Buck Rogers future (where they promised us jet packs!), it's cool, expensive, slightly-useful toys like this one that will pave the way. Sure it's based on the Roomba, and sure they'll probably have a lawsuit or two to deal with. But it's PLENTY COOL. Made me think out of the box a little. What about a Wallba, a robot that creeps over your walls and gradually paints them, eliminating ANOTHER chore that nobody likes doing but everybody wants done!
Rob--that's perfect! If this wre solar pwered, it would be more effective and competitive in the market. At a cost of about $3,000, it would need something to give it an advantage. Any lawn that could use this would be very large and would have to be cut several times a week. Solar power makes sense here.
I think I would need a couple of these little guys to mow my entire yard, but the convenience and cool-factor may just be worth it.
20-60mm is not tall enough, though. Grass should be cut long in order to help the grass self-protect from drought and weeds. I usually mow to around 3-4 inches..80-100mm because I don't have the sprinkler system or pockets deep enough to water my yard.
I imagine that the first market penetration in the U.S. for these may be golf courses, and other properties with owners who put a very high value on perfectly manicured and well-watered grass.
I wonder which is cheaper, a team of Miimo's or a team of human lawn cutters? For those in the latter category, (and given the pricepoints below) the next few years may provide a window to update skillsets and/or resumes.
Honda announced that Miimo robotic mower will be available in two models, 300 and 500, offering a maximum perimeter cut of 300m and 500m respectively. Honda Miimo 500 will mow up to a total lawn size of 3,000 square meters, around half the size of a typical football pitch, making it suitable for a wide variety of gardens.
Honda Miimo will be manufactured by Honda France Manufacturing in Orlean, and it will be available from Honda Authorized Dealers across Europe in early 2013 for prices ranging between $2,600 and $3,000, depending on options. While it may seem a lot for regular lazy people, it is competitive to other already established names in this niche.
They also plan to offer a service which comes along much more expensive robotic lawn mowers, and that their model for Honda Lawn & Garden Authorized Dealers. It will be sold as a full service package, where a dealer helps in installation of the system and its tinkering to suit particular needs of the client.
They install the docking station, which acts as the charging point and signal generator, and a boundary wire which defines the mowing area. Honda Miimo is then programmed to cut to a schedule convenient to the customer, via its inbuilt timer and calendar. At the end of the season, Honda Authorized Dealer collects it for winter maintenance.
Warren, if this contraption works like the roving vacuum, it may indeed be able to handle odd-shaped lawns with ease. I think this would be the perfect device for solar power since it lives out in the sunshine. You're not going to mow when it rains at any rate.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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