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Robotic Lawnmowers: Can They Cut It?

11 October 2017

Mowing the lawn is not everyone’s favorite home maintenance task. If you think mowing your own lawn is an arduous chore, imagine having to mow an urban park. Some cities in Europe and the U.S. are finding that this is work befitting robotic technology.

Robotic lawnmowers are being piloted in seven cities, and not merely to relieve humans from lawn labor. A Husqvarna Automower® cuts the grass in an Edinburgh park. Source: HusqvarnaA Husqvarna Automower® cuts the grass in an Edinburgh park. Source: HusqvarnaHusqvarna mowers equipped with wirelessly-connected sensors developed by Telit and Wireless System Integration of Sweden collect environmental data as they groom urban green spaces.

The sensor box mounted on top of the machines is powered by the robot’s main battery as it documents air quality, noise levels and other environmental parameters in real-time. Data are transmitted via Telit’s HE910 cellular module and global internet of things (IoT) connectivity data plans.

Quantified Planet, an organization that collects and analyzes data in pursuit of urban sustainability, receives the information and publishes it for public review. City managers can examine the environmental data and implement programs to improve the health of citizens.

The robotic systems are operated using a special smartphone app and fitted with alarms and GPS technology to disable should they be moved without authorization. To ensure public safety, sensors detect any nearby objects, including people and animals, causing machines to turn away. Grass is cut daily, rain or shine, as the mowers operate within a boundary wire.

“According to the United Nations, 66 percent of the world’s population will be living in urban areas by 2050, creating sustainability challenges for cities to manage. Cities that are already using IoT are building the infrastructure to manage their assets and relationships with their citizens,” said Yosi Fait, Interim CEO, Telit. “Husqvarna’s city mower program is an example of how cities are using IoT to become more sustainable and efficient. Through this collaboration we have been demonstrating again our unique sensor to cloud capabilities, cutting our customers time to market through our integrated lines of products and services as well through our professional services team’s significant IoT knowhow.”

Husqvarna Automower® units are helping to maintain parks in Edinburgh and London in the UK, Gothenburg and Stockholm in Sweden, Almere and Leeuwarden in the Netherlands and San Francisco, California.

To contact the author of this article, email sue.himmelstein@ieeeglobalspec.com


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