Robo-mowers cut the grass for you

Hate cutting the grass? This little robot does the hard work for you

By Susan Peters


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Like a Roomba released in the wild, computerized lawnmowers are coming to a suburb near you. Snip, snip, snip–the automower zigzags across the lawn, buzzing quietly as it climbs hills and backs away from flowerpots, then trundles home to its home base to recharge when the battery runs low. (It juices on 110-volt electricity, burning about as much power as a 70-watt light bulb.)

“Right now, the concept of a self-mown lawn is a little bit new to people,” says Stephen Clark, product manager at Husqvarna Canada. The automower not only saves precious leisure hours, the company claims it offers a better cut–with an irregular mowing pattern (no more stripes) and short clippings left as mulch. You also have a “lawn boy” willing to trim the grass 24/7.

The automower follows boundary cables, installed by a technician, around the edge of your yard. (You can also “fence in” walkways and flower beds.) A technician programs how many times a week you want the grass cut, and at what time of day, but homeowners can also plug the mower into a laptop or use the touch screen to program the mower themselves if they wish. To adjust the cutting height, you simply twist a dial.

If an automower runs into a curious dog, a lawn chair or some fool who wants to stick his foot underneath, collision detectors tell the mower to turn around and zip off. Underneath the mower, the circular blade uses pivoting razor-sharp teeth that spin around to avoid damage if they hit something small like a twig. “If the mower runs over Barbie, the doll will get a haircut and maybe lose a few fingers, but no limbs,” says Clark.

For now, the company is targeting seniors and early adopters keen to have the newest gizmo in the subdivision, but the automowers should become more common (and cheaper) in a few years. The four models range from $1,500 to $3,500, with a 230 ACX that cuts up to 3,000 m2 of grass costing $3,000. Nobody said good help was cheap.

For more information, visit or call 800-363-3664.

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