Posted by: robotnews | March 22, 2007

Robomowers

It is interesting to note that by the end of 2005, robotic lawn mowers are the second largest category of household autonomous robots used. One of the best-selling robotic lawn mower is Robomow by Friendly Robots, an Israeli company.

Basically, you have to first peg a small wire to the ground around the perimeter of your lawn, defining the area to be mowed. It is a one-time set-up and will be covered by growing grass quickly.

Robomower uses sophisticated tiling algorithms to calculate the most effective pattern for mowing the entire lawn. The robotic lawn mower can operate on slopes, in rain and have sensors to bypass obstacles in the lawn. It also incorporate several safety features such as Lift Sensor which stops rotating the blades once the robot is lifted. More importantly, it can cut the grass into fine powder such that they can be recycled as fertilizer into the soil (grasscycling/mulching). This is not only environmentally friendly but it will also save us from the hassle of removing the clippings.

With such wonderful features, I wonder when such robotic lawn mowers will be ubiquitous in Singapore. The only problem I can predict now is that such robotic lawn mowers are too good to resist taking home by a passer-by. Currently, there is a TheftGuard system installed in the devices that require a personal 4-digit code to be entered upon each use. In my opinion, this might not deter determined thefts. However, there are solutions to this problem such as installing tracking or alarm devices that are activated once the Robomower is brought out of the boundary. Hence, I do not see any reason why they are not used in public parks or at least in country clubs in Singapore.

Why?

Robomowers – Because Singapore deserve better.

Reference:
http://www.friendlyrobotics.com/

Picture:
http://www.seattleluxe.com/robomower/index.php

Lee Kaizhao U036122x

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Responses

  1. Chew Yiping U036736A

    This lawn mower sounds very useful indeed, and perhaps to throw a few hypothesis on why these greenies are not infiltrating the terrains of The Garden City (as yet) may be because:

    (i) from the picture, I would have to make an educated guess that it uses a two-wheel locomotion technology, which we have learnt in class that wheeled robots do not drive as well on uneven terrains as flat ones. Otherwise, this would have been a golden investment for the URA: sending these robots up onto those awkward slopes by the expressways, instead of a troop of grasscutters under the unbearable hot weather. (this would have its repercussions like unemployment, but it’s not the crux of the argument here)

    (ii) I do not think that the capacity of one robot is sufficient to handle large areas such as golf courses or parks (considering lawns are usually comparatively small). Plus to do that, the robomowers might need another addition function like a homing sensor.

    (iii) Or simply because people just don’t have lawns to be mowed!

  2. Leaw Tiew Liang U036391E

    I think this invention is one of the best demonstrations of how robotics can make our lives easier. The creator has definitely identified a major market where consumers are dying to find a solution to.

    Mowing lawns is one of the biggest hassle of people staying in foreign countries and they often find high-school children to do the job for them and these services do not come cheap.

    With this invention, owners do not have to worry about hiring strangers to their place and risk theft or even adultery cases (think desperate housewives).

    The best thing is that the technology used in the robot is not much more revolutionary than what is already available. Kudos to the creator who is able to spot such a demand, apply current technology and make tons of money. Guess finding applications is just as important as developing the technology.

  3. Lee Kaizhao U036122x

    Yiping,
    True, I agree that though the lawnmower is able to travel on slopes as stated on the website, it might not be able to go on awkward slopes.

    Deliang,
    Yes, most of the times, scientists do not need to come up with revolutionary inventions to simplify our lives. 🙂

  4. Xu Xiao U036505H

    This is an interesting blog entry. em… automatic lawn mower? sounds cool enough.

    based on the picture shown, I guess this automatic lawn mower is only good for home gardening, especially for big houses in western countries. These big houses usually have relatively flat lawns in the front and at the back. These lawns are neither too big nor too small for such a robot to work on. The flat terrain is also conducive and friendly for the robots.

    By the way, how much does one such robot cost? If the cost is too high, it may not be justified to use them instead of the grasscutters, who may be still slightly cheaper. Also, if Singapore government adopts the robot to mow the lawn in public parks and country clubs, additional personnel are needed to take care of these robots, such as taking them away when they finish lawn-mowing. Furthermore, the maintenance cost of such robots should not be high if they are to be adopted.

    But for Singapore houses, normally there are no such lawns in the front. It may be due to limited landsize of Singapore, so the houses cannot afford to have large lawns as those houses in Western countries.

    Anyway, this automatic lawn mower robot is a clever application of the robotic control.

    Happy Mowing!!!

  5. Yeo Kelly U036786J

    The uses of the lawn mower sounds impressive. It is really handy if our houses have huge gardening areas. Otherwise if it is to be used in a park, i think it is not very feasible.

    Not to mention the cost, there is always the hassle of having to peg wires around the perimeter of the field. And since it is a public area, the wires may have to be removed after mowing so as to prevent accident or vandalism. In addition, with the cute structure of the mower, I wonder any playful children will climb ontop of it..unless there are people around to moniter the usage of the mower. Then again is the monitering 1-to-1? If it is, then i think employering people to do the grass-cutting job will still be a cheaper option after all.


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