Mowing by remote control.
HUMANS do not yet commute by spaceship, fridges do not restock themselves and hoverboards have yet to arrive in toy shops.
The future, it seems, is not all that Hollywood promised.
Advancements are being made on the robot housekeeper front, however.
Hot on the heels of the robotic vacuum cleaner comes another handy item – a robotic lawnmower.
Yes, why hire a mowing service when you can employ a robot to do your bidding in an entirely novel and geeky manner?
Husqvarna has actually produced robotic grass- eaters since 1995 and the Automower 305 is part of its third generation.
This model is designed for small back yards, as it only mows up to 500sqm of lawn.
Mercifully, this also makes it small enough to carry around at only 7kg.
Sitting back and watching a robot complete your gardening chores certainly seems like a dream, but the reality is far more involved . . . at least initially.
You cannot simply drop this device, resembling a remotecontrol car, on your lawn and sit back. It requires plenty of preparation and a thorough read through of the manual.
Robot mowers, you see, must have a power source, that’s why you must install a charging station. The station is a grey plastic platform with workings encased at its rear that connect to the Automower’s battery.
As the robot returns and docks to this station autonomously, Husqvarna recommends for efficient charging it is installed with at least 3m of space around it, on flat ground and in shade, if possible. Naturally, it must also be connected to a power point.
Robot mowers must also have in- depth guidelines in which to work, lest they attempt to chew through a garden bed, beat themselves against walls or ( the horror) mow someone else’s yard.
To provide a virtual border, users must install green wire around the perimeter of the mowing area.
A roll of wire ( 150m) and plenty of black, plastic pegs are included for this purpose. Careful examination of the manual is required before installing the wire, as it should be 30cm from walls, 20cm from flower beds and 5cm from flat pavers. Should your garden have a lot of features, this could take some time.
The wire must also ultimately be connected to the charging station so it may send a signal to its robot charge.
Additionally, users may have to give the yard one last mow before the robot’s debut.
The Automower cannot handle grass higher than 10cm. Nor can it handle slopes with more than a 25 per cent incline.
Once installed, however, the Automower becomes a lot easier to use. It is autonomous so it is literally a case of set it up and let it run around your lawn. It works in random patterns, cutting grass with three sharp, spinning discs and it does a surprisingly good job.
Users can set it on a timer or set the grass- cutting height to ensure it isn’t too effective – a problem Husqvarna warns about. Also included on the same panel is an anti- theft system that lets users set a pin- code. Even so, this may not be strong enough security for some to leave a $ 2000 item in plain sight.
Ultimately, this robot mower will not suit everyone yet.