BOULDER, Colorado – Summer in Colorado is a time when the loud noise of mowers and lawn crews wakes up our weekend mornings. But a Boulder company is cutting back on human labor and starting with a more user-friendly approach to garden maintenance.
You are in good company this week with False Robotics.
It’s the beginning of the end for the traditional gas-guzzling ride-on mowers needed for landscaping.
“We find it sad that the best way we have to take care of our entire space today is really inefficient – hand polluting gasoline machines,” said Jack Morrison, CEO of Scythe Robotics.
Morrison combined his previous 3D mapping software experience and his frustration with mowing his own lawn to help launch a fleet of self-contained mowers.
“So they’re designed to mow big properties like this park here, or a housing development, schools, office parks,” says Morrison.
How it works is that one person drives the mower around the edge of the property to mark off the area to be mowed. Then the machine knows how to divide this section into geometric shapes and gets to work.
“Once he memorizes some kind of boundary map, he knows how to draw bands at any angle the client wants,” says Morrison.
Each of their mowers is equipped with eight cameras, GPS antennas and WiFi to help them.
“Then if he meets a tree in the middle of the area, he can detect it with the cameras, plan around it, make a nice circle around it and continue,” says Morrison.
The machines are battery powered and silent so as not to interrupt the neighbors. But a big part of their programming is safety in case the mower meets someone in its path.
“You don’t want to just circle the human like you would a tree,” Morrison said. “You want to stop, make sure they exit your area safely, then continue on your way.”
This is because their goal is to be in the background and minimize a labor intensive process so that teams can focus on the finer details of a project.
“They can take half their crew off the mower and put them to work doing more creative and interesting work around the properties,” Morrison said. “From edging and pruning, to maintaining flower beds and picking up trash.”
The mowers are only available for commercial use at the moment, but they hope to develop a personal line of mowers in the future.
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