Robot Stock News has discovered a patent by iRobot for a “Lawn Care Robot” similar to the company’s line of robotic vacuum cleaners. While robotic lawnmowers aren’t new, they’ve had a hell of a time replacing conventional lawnmowers. You know, the kind that actually cut your entire yard in a reasonable amount of time even though you have to do all that inconvenient “walking” we’ve heard so much about.
The biggest challenge for current and previous robotic lawnmower offerings has been how to keep the things inside your yard. Various methods involving line-of-sight spikes or buried wiring have been used. The iRobot patent alludes to the idea of GPS navigation or some sort of audio beacon to keep the mower within your property lines.
The iRobot mower will be theoretically able to avoid obstacles in your yard, recharge itself, and even collect grass clippings. From Robot Stock News…
“The Mowba lawnmower — (iRobot will surely have a better name?) — would be able to avoid most obstacles on its own, such as driveways, trees, pools, ponds, curbs, etc.
There also appears to be an option for a robot-activated recharging station. (Something also available on the Robomower.)
Among other cool features:
* A possible edge trimmer along the outside edge of the chassis.
* The possibility of collecting clippings and depositing them at a specified location;
* The possibility of using RFID tags or proximity sensors to avoid running into pets or people;
* The possibility of learning your lawn in the first cutting and remembering it for future cuttings;
* The inclusion of grass-combing technology to ensure that the grass is fluffed and properly oriented for cutting.”
This all sounds well and good, but the biggest factors will undoubtedly be cost and how well the mower actually mows your yard. It’s one thing for your Roomba vacuum to miss a spot of unseen dust on your rug, it’s an entirely different thing for a Roomba mower to leave patches of unmowed grass all over your yard. How long it takes the mower to cover an entire normal-sized lawn could also be another factor. If it takes six hours and multiple recharges to get everything and you have to untangle it from your garden a few times, it might turn out to be more trouble than it’s worth.
Still, if any company can get the robotic lawnmower right, it’s iRobot.