Mow­ing by re­mote con­trol.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

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.

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