What’s new about robotic lawnmowers then? What could possibly be so different?
AI, Machine learning, and vision navigation just to name a few.
Well as you would know technology has been advancing for years. All kinds of technology from microchips to batteries have been getting smaller, more efficient, and more powerful constantly and are still continuing to do so.
One thing about all these technologies is that they are all used in Robotic Lawn Mowers. This means that new companies are starting to come into the market with new innovative technology and beating out old leaders in the market.
For example, Husqvarna the market leader in the robot mower industry has only made small improvements and changes to their designs for over 20 years. And some cheaper and smaller models of robot mowers are still using lead-acid batteries, a technology created in 1859.
What’s different about the new Robot Lawn Mowers?
Here are some of the major changes that are occurring in the world of robot mowers. These changes are equivalent to a new generation of Robot mowers coming out now that were not possible when robot mowers were first introduced.
Robotic Mower Artificial Intelligence
The AI used for each model of robot mower will be completely different to the other but they all achieve the same basic function. The difference now is that rather than your robot mower following a set of basic instructions like, drive until you find the boundary wire then turn and drive again until you find the next boundary wire. Repeat until complete.
AI allows the robot to be more intelligent, mowing around things, not covering areas too much to avoid scalping certain areas, seeing the edges of gardens and driveways without the need for wires and barriers. It really does just add more intelligence to the robots that have been mostly just following simple commands up until now.
If you haven’t heard about this already, machine learning is something that goes hand in hand with AI. It’s where a computer is given some data, say a bunch of photos. Then it’s taught to identify objects in the images.
This is perfect for AI because it allows AI it identify things like your lawn, the edges of your lawn, and obstacles like people and balls.
All this means that new robot mowers are using these new technologies. Technologies that have been developed for other industries. This makes them work more efficiently than robots that run into obstacles to find their way around.
The other benefit of machine learning is that it never stops. So if you get an AI-powered robot lawnmower that uses machine learning, it will be learning along with all the other robot mowers and they will all get better and better at seeing objects and finding their way around.
This is just one of the amazing things about machine learning. Like a child, it will learn and get better and better.
Plug and Play
Where older robot mower systems required quite an involved installation, with the boundary wire and possibly home wire in up to 4 zones around your home, this is all done away with when you allow an AI to take control of the robot.
The AI systems in these robot mowers just need some simple training and basic setup to get the idea of where your lawn’s boundaries are then it just works the res out for itself.
Old Robotic mowers mostly used a boundary wire that would need to be manually installed around the edge of your garden. This would also limit where it could go and for bigger or more complex lawns you needed to set up multiple zones and lay down boundary wires for all of that.
Some of the older systems were made smarter by including GPS and obstacle avoidance but still involved the same system of a boundary wire and possibly another home wire that would take a long time to install at the start.
The New Navigation systems are almost completely autonomous, not needing any special setup at all. This is because most of them use a mix of different systems and they are now starting to use vision systems that were not possible with previous technology.
These new vision systems use cameras, and other sensors to actually see what is in front of the robot. This is similar to the technology of a self-driving car.
This advance in navigation systems has only been made possible by advances in chip technology and AI technology to allow the robot to identify objects in the real world simply with a camera.
Robot mower without boundary wires
When your robot mower can actually see what’s in front of it there is no need to give it fences anymore. The other method to avoid using boundary wires is to have a robot mower that knows its location so accurately that it can move around with extreme accuracy. This is the idea of the Husqvarna Ceora.
Either method that you use the idea is that the mower should be able to understand its surroundings well enough that it doesn’t need a hard boundary to show it where it needs to go.
Do all robot lawn mowers need a perimeter wire?
Well, the answer is no, but back when robot mowers were a new thing the answer to this really was yes. Increases in computing power in smaller more efficient chips allow onboard navigation that now means that there is no need for a perimeter wire.
Just showing your robot mower the limits of your yard or simply drawing a line on a map is all that’s needed these days.
Here is an example of a robot mower without a boundary wire.
Toadi – Ai Powered Robotic Lawnmower
Build for small to medium lawns this is the robot mower you want. With its new vision AI system, it will find its way around your lawn with ease.
Just charge it up and drop it on the lawn. It will then find its way around mowing the lawn while you go off and do something else.
It can cut up to 0.6 or 1.2 acres depending on the model that you get but this should easily be enough for most lawns.
There is no need to worry about complex installation, obstacles, safety, or anything else really. the Toadi has been built to really be plug-and-play in every sense.
Kingdom Technologies Robot Mower
A startup based out of the UK with a mission to become the best in the Robot mower industry. With its integrated AI navigation system and a suite of onboard cameras, the Kingdom robot mower is aimed at commercial and large residential customers around the world.
With a big focus on efficiency, this robot mower is the one that does more with less.
The AI of this robot mower tries its best to mow the lawn as a human would and this has a very big effect on the outcome.
Well, the robot will mow in a back-and-forth pattern only driving over the same piece of grass once. the same way a human would cover a lawn in the least time. The difference is that most robot mowers don’t do this, most robot mowers just turn in random directions and keep going over the lawn until it’s completely mowed.
This improvement allows the robot to cover much much more area on a single charge and this is what allows it to cover its claimed 70 000 square meters of lawn in just one week.
Volta Robot Mower
Meant to be an extremely simple drop-and-go robotic mower that can make its way around with little to no input. Volta has invested a significant amount of effort in training its robot mower to be able to work in almost any situation.
Able to mow up to 0.4 acres or 1600 square meters. Meaning it will be able to mow most people’s lawns without too much trouble.
Graze Commercial Robotic LawnMower
The Biggest of all of these options and probably the most serious one is the graze robotic mower. Well, the graze is a bit more than just a mower as it’s designed as a completely autonomous platform that can perform many different tasks with different add-ons for the main unit.
This aims it directly at commercial customers like golf courses that have huge areas to cover that will need different types of tools for different jobs.
Even so, we thought they deserved a mention here are they really are pushing the boundaries of what a robotic mower or more correctly what a robot gardener really is.
they have questioned the size and overall design of a robotic mower completely unlike a lot of the other companies in the area.
Husqvarna Ceora Commercial Robot Mower
The latest from Husqvarna is a commercial robot mower targeted very specifically for sports fields, golf courses, and other facilities management.
It has an impressive size and to go along with that a very impressive technology system built-in. With an extremely high precision positioning system, the robotic mower is able to navigate around even very small obstacles and areas. This allows simple management of the mowers and all areas of a golf course, sports fields, and other areas.
AI is the next step for robotic lawnmowers. The more that they are implemented and used, the better the AI will get that controls them. This just means that even if you buy one now it should continue to improve as all the mowers contribute to machine learning.
This is the great part about connected devices and smart systems like this. When a mower somewhere has a problem or finds a faster way of doing something this learning can be sent out to all other machines effectively making them all smarter.
AI really is the future for robotic lawnmowers and we will continue to see more and more of this type of implementation going forwards.