Oct. 24 2019 08:41 AM

If anyone still harbors any doubt that the robotic mower revolution is here to stay, a visit to this year’s GIE+Expo would remove it.

Mean Green Mowers’ Atom mower


If anyone still harbors any doubt that the robotic mower revolution is here to stay, a visit to this year’s GIE+Expo would remove it. On display were autonomous mowers from brands like Husqvarna, Stihl and Toro along with several newer players, and remote-controlled slope mowers from companies such as Spider and Ambrogio.

There was also the unveiling of Hamilton, Ohio-based Mean Green Mowers’ Atom, a large-area autonomous mower that uses artificial intelligence to navigate. The units, the product of a collaboration with robotics manufacturer Kobi, New York, are still undergoing testing but should hit the market by 2021.

The Atom will be equipped with the KobiVision system, which continuously calculates the position of the mower within half an inch. Unlike a system based on wires, beacons or GPS, KobiVision does not require a base station or good satellite reception.

Safety is also enhanced by cameras and safety sensors, but primarily by the incorporation of artificial intelligence that recognizes humans, pets, trees and other obstacles and avoids them.

Contractors were also presented with robotic-mower franchise opportunities from Robin Autopilot, Plano, Texas, and Mowbot, Durham, North Carolina, which uses Husqvarna’s Automowers.

Manufacturers said the robotic mowers help contractors deal with the shortage of qualified labor in the green industry and improves operator safety through the use of remote control, especially for slope mowers.

For some robotic mowers, the in-ground guide wires that provide boundaries are no longer necessary. On display at the show was Stockholm-based Husqvarna’s Autonomous Operation system that uses the new Husqvarna EPOS technology, a high-precision satellite navigation system that provides enhanced real-time positioning accuracy. Input from sensors, cameras, radar and ultrasonic technology provides collision avoidance. The Husqvarna Autonomous Operation system should be available in selected markets by 2021.