The Future of Mowing Is AI-Powered
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Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could sit back, relax while a robot did all the dirty work on the lawn for us? While this might sound like a scene from the Jetsons, ‘Rosie the Robot’ has entered the real world. Robot mowers are here to happily munch away the tall grass and weeds while you sit in your shaded porch sipping on ice-tea, watching it mow your lawn, keeping it looking good, even in bristling hot weather. They work just as efficiently as your standard lawnmower, but without the need for any manual input from you.
The demand and popularity of robotic lawn mowers are soaring. Since it’s a relatively new technology that entered the market just a few years ago, its operations are always getting refined to deliver reliable, efficient, and convenient results to the buyers. This is to say that newer robotic models are more efficient than the older ones. But’s let’s take a step back and start from the ground up– in this article, we will take an in-depth look at what robotic lawn mowers are and how they work. If you’re new to robotic lawnmowers or are about to shop for one, this article will be very beneficial.
Robot Mowers: How Do They Work?
Most robotic lawnmowers cut the grass using a random system. It randomly wheels through the yard, mowing the grass on its path till it hits a perimeter wire. At this point, it changes direction and proceeds to mow forward until it hits the boundary again. The length of this process depends on the size of your lawn. It takes a long time if it’s working on a large area.
There is another, more advanced, breed of robotic lawnmowers that have an in-built system that creates a map of the working area and systematically mows the grass. This type of robotic mower’s benefit is that there are no uncut spots left behind. The mower doesn’t keep going over the same area multiple times, which can otherwise add to the overall time.
Regardless of the type, all robotic lawn mowers are mulching mowers. This means they cut the grass finely and scatter them everywhere. They don’t collect it. The fine clippings will decompose and get soaked into the soil and provide it with nutrients.
Robot Mowers: The Basic Factors To Consider
● The Cutting Blade
There are two types of blade systems found in robot lawnmowers. Some mowers have several razor blades attached to the spinning disc. These are energy-efficient, but since the blades are located under the machine, getting the grass right at the edge is difficult. Also, the blades are quite fragile, become blunt relatively quickly, causing it to get replaced every couple of months. The good news is that replacement razor blades are quite cheap.
The second type of robot lawn mowers uses a solitary cutting blade, that’s very similar to a standard lawnmower. These are sturdy and big and need to be replaced less frequently. Also, since they cut more blades of grass at once, it finishes the job quickly. Plus, because of the blade’s location, it can cut the grass at the very edge of your lawn. That said, this type of lawnmower uses more energy and creates more noise.
Regardless of the type, they will both cover more ground than a conventional lawnmower because its speed depends on how quickly you can push.
● The Battery Type
Robot lawnmowers typically use a rechargeable battery pack, which can last you anywhere from 30 minutes to more than four hours, depending on your model. You will find some entry-level robot mowers with lead-acid batteries. These are cheaper, but they hold less charge than lithium-ion batteries. Also, while lead-acid batteries take up to 20 hours to charge, the lithium-ion battery pack will be fully charged in just 2 hours.
Then there’s battery life to consider. Lead-acid batteries have a shorter shelf life. Their capacity reduces yearly. In fact, the battery health takes a hit faster at temperatures over 25 degrees celsius. On the other hand, lithium-ion batteries have a longer life and don’t need to be replaced as often.
If you’re shopping for a robotic lawnmower, try to get a model that runs on lithium-ion batteries. While they might have a slightly higher price tag, they are more efficient and durable and will bring you savings in the long run.
● The Collision Sensor
Most robotic lawn mowers– even the basic ones– have a collision sensor in place. This sensor enables the machine to sense barriers and obstacles and either maneuver around it or change directions. Basic models will bump into the obstacle, and then back up and turn, advanced models have proximity sensors that will trigger the robot to slow down when it senses an obstruction.
The benefit of proximity sensors is that neither the lawnmower nor the obstacle in question suffers collision-induced trauma. There’s a visual obstacle detection technology currently being developed, which will help the robotic lawnmowers to identify bumps in their paths in advance.
Ensure that the autonomous lawnmower you choose has a collision sensor, preferably the kind with a proximity detector. This way, if you have obstacles on your lawn like several tall trees, it won’t harm the mower.
● Slope Tolerance
Most autonomous lawnmowers are inherently designed for efficiency and not power, and slopes require bigger, more powerful motors, wheels, and larger battery capacity. If your lawn is relatively flat, this isn’t an area you need to worry about. If it’s an irregular surface with hills and bumps, you want to invest in a model that can handle the steep slope.
Some robotic lawn mowers have been designed to handle steep slopes. They have larger battery capacity, powerful motors, and massive wheels, which, thanks to the wonders of gravity, prevent the machine from toppling over.
Most models can handle 14-degree slopes, while the higher0end models will be able to manage up to 25 degrees.
● Safety Features
Accidents happen, especially with electric equipment. All robotic lawnmowers come preinstalled with lift and tilt sensors. This feature triggers the blades to stop spinning when then the mower is lifted or tilted. Since the blades are situated under the mower, tilting it from the front can cause the blade to injure a human or a pet. Solitary blades are powerful and can cause substantial damage. But with this feature in place, you won’t have to worry about it.
Models that use razor blades are less cutting power. So even if it were to run over a small object, the damage would be very little.
Even if your robotic lawnmower comes equipped with a lift and tilt feature, we recommend not leaving the children or pets unattended on the lawn while the mower is on.
● Ease of Programming
Most models allow users to customize the settings via a control panel. You should be able to change the set times, days, and blade height. Advanced models will let to adjust the settings through your phone or tablet through the app. This way, you can turn the mower on and off remotely, or schedule a mowing session in advance.
The mowers with an app will even allow you to check the progress of the lawnmower, and its performance from a different location. This is convenient if you are on holiday but want to keep your lawn in tip-top shape. If the mower has a GPS tracking system inbuilt, you will be able to view the exact location of the mower and adjust its behavior and mowing pattern as well. This is helpful in case your mower gets stolen, and you want authorities to track down where it is.
Being able to program the lawnmower and track its location can be very helpful when operating the mower while not at home. In fact, some of the benefits under this category can be considered a safety feature.
Robot lawnmowers enable users to save time, energy, and costs. Besides, they are even good for the planet since they use very little power to operate. By using a lawnmower, you free up time on your weekends to spend on other things that bring you joy. It’s one less chore you need to worry about.