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Honda unveils Miimo, a robotic lawn mower

We had previously written about top 5 robots of all times, and Honda’s Asimo was included in the list (read the article over here). Honda has been into robotics for a long time now, and ASIMO is one of the greatest creations from Honda and is the world’s most advanced humanoid robot. ASIMO is a robot which is 4 Ft 3 inch tall and 53 kilograms light. It is able to do a lot of things autonomously and is capable of running a speed of 3.7 mph. Honda ASIMO is fruit of 15 years of development, but not ready for commercial market quite yet.

Instead of ASIMO, Honda has cooked up something for the commercial market, and it’s a lawnmower. Yes, a lawnmower! Honda is all set to enter the ever growing European robotic lawn mower market with Honda Miimo, the first commercial robotic product that is targeted towards domestic market.

According to the press release, Honda Miimo is a perfect solution for those wanting a beautiful lawn but would rather not or can’t mow it themselves. The ultimate time and labor saving device, once installed it needs minimal human interaction when working to ensure a beautifully cut lawn, every day, for the length of the mowing season.

The robot is designed to operate within a boundary wire that can be either buried or placed in the grass and Honda Miimo will keep the area of lawn specified by the wire neat to perfection. The robot apparently detects the electronic signals in the wire and restricts itself within that boundary. It navigates within the garden by making use of intelligent combination of controls, timers and real-time sensory feedback, thus making the whole robotic lawn mowing a safe affair.

Operating within the specified boundary, the robot makes use of ‘continuous cutting’ system, which essentially functions by mowing just 2-3mm of grass at a time, but several times in a week. Miimo cuts in a random pattern, which promotes healthy growth of grass while discouraging growth of moss and weed, though the user can still select from three modes – ‘random’, ‘directional’ or ‘mixed’, to suit the size and type of garden. The best feature, however, is the fact that unlike ordinary lawn mowers, this robotic device doesn’t require a separate system to collect the clippings as the cuttings are so tiny that they are dispersed into the lawn’s root system, thus acting as a natural fertilizer which ultimately promotes growth of quality grass. For this, it makes use of a fan that is built-in to its blade holder, which creates an airflow that can effectively ‘suck’ the grass towards the blades.

The Miimo makes use of a lithium-ion battery for its power needs and is capable of heading back to its charging dock when it senses that it’s out of juice. Three bump sensors along its body helps it navigate away from solid object that it may run into on its way. It is also capable of managing its wheel and blade speed so that it is able to come out of thick patches of grass by itself, without any user intervention required. At the time of launch, it will available in two models, 300 and 500, offering a maximum perimeter cut of 300m and 500m respectively. Honda Miimo 500 will be capable of mowing 3,000 square meters of grass, which makes it suitable for most of the non-commercial gardens. Apart from being quieter than its petrol counterparts, it also doesn’t emit any CO2, and with no cuttings to dispose of, it an ideal replacement for traditional lawn mowers.

The price of Miimo isn’t known yet, but it will most probably be on the higher side. If you feel that the opportunity cost of you mowing your lawn is greater than the price you would pay for this robot, then this one is definitely for you. What are your thoughts on Honda Miimo? Let us know using the comment form below.

Source: Press Release

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