If the science fiction movies and TV shows of years ago were correct, you should have an array of robots by now to take care of every conceivable domestic duty. While this is not yet the case, the domestic robot revolution is coming. Robotic vacuum cleaners already sit alongside their manual counterparts at department stores and the price is no longer prohibitive. Robots are also available for more high-intensity domestic tasks such as mowing the lawn. The technology is improving, and it's only a matter of time before mowing the lawn becomes something you can have a robot take care of, no matter what kind of lawn you have. So what sort of robot lawn mowers are available now, and what will be available in the near future?
The Current Technology
A number of manufacturers already offer robot lawn mowers. You need to bury a guide wire around the perimetre of your lawn, and then the mower cuts the grass within this invisible border. A guide wire can also be buried to guide the mower to a different patch of grass, such as if your front and backyard lawns are separated by a paved area. The more advanced models come with a smartphone app, allowing you to remotely start and stop the mower. It can also send you a distress signal if it encounters an obstacle it cannot pass, like a large piece of wood that might have fallen in its path. These mowers are pricey, but as more manufacturers begin to produce them, the price will come down, leading to more competitive pricing.
The Next Generation
The next generation of lawn mowers will work in a similar manner, but without the annoying need for a buried guide wire. A robot lawn mower has been developed that navigates via partially submerged beacons, which are small stakes hammered into the lawn. You can reposition these stakes at your leisure, allowing you greater control over the area that is mowed. This robot will still be synced with a smartphone, which will give you remote control.
In the Future
Future models will not need a guide wire and will be able to analyse the area to be mowed without assistance. Currently, when the lawn mower's battery runs low it will return to its charging station, sometimes leaving a half-finished job, and then finish the task when it has recharged. Some models are likely to have solar panels that will greatly increase performance time. The durability of the machines will increase, allowing them to mow a variety of terrains in varying sizes. As it stands, robot lawn mowers can only mow an average suburban backyard that is reasonably level. This will certainly change as the technology improves.
It's funny to think that the chore of lawn mowing will quite soon be a thing of the past, and lawn mowing service providers might be men and women who service robots rather than cut the grass themselves. If you'd like a new lawn mower, contact a company like Cox Mowers to learn about your options.