In 2019 we had the chance to host the second only F315 AWD in the world, here are my opinions* on this robot.
*All opinions expressed in this article are mine and only mine
Edit on the 14/08/2020: Turflynx to launch an improved platform: The F340!
What is the Turflynx F315?
The Turflynx F315 is the first mower produced by the company Turflynx (based in Portugal). F315 stands for F ← Fairway 3← 3 units 15← 15kWh. It’s the first 100% electric and self-driving mower.
Turflynx claims the 15kWh battery allows the robot to mow 3,5ha (8,6acres) or 7 fairways and can charge in two hours with the fast charging.
The weights and mowing width depend on the mowing units you order.
Turflynx offers to adapt pretty much all units in the market from 55cms (22inches) up to 66cm (26inches). Units must be electric and can be 7, 11, or 14blades.
They offers mowing widht from 1.55m (61inches) to 1.88m (74inches) for a short 640kgs (1410lbs) up to 700kgs (1545lbs)!
The F315 exists in two versions: The 2-wheel drive (2WD) and the 3-wheel drive (AWD). We had the all-wheels-drive version.
The low weight cumulated with a low gravity center (due to the battery pack) allows the robot to mow on a slope over 16° / 28%, or rollover angle up to 22° / 40%. We pushed our machine on a 40% slope!
The key part of the F315 is that the robot is equipped with a lidar sensor and a handful of ultra-waves sensors for redundancy, the robot can work day or night and in any weather condition, even during the play! If the robot detects an obstacle in his 260° field of vision, it will start slowing down, and if the obstacle doesn’t move, it will stop and then restart on its own once the obstacle is gone.
The fully autonomous technology continue way beyond that, in fact, the robot will even drive himself alone from your greenkeeping facility, from fairway to fairway, and even returning to your wash place.
How to install the Turflynx F315?
At the moment, you can only install the Turflynx robot by either a Turflynx technician or a franchised dealer. In our case, we had both!
The installation of the Turflynx is rather simple, taking us only a couple of days to map most of our fairways (demo only).
The setup requires the installation of an RTK base antenna (installed on an existing pole in our clubhouse), then a second RTK unit on a golf e-cart, then a 24 hours calibration.
The next step is pretty straight forward; you simply drive around:
- The area where the robot can drive and turn BUT NOT mow. (ex: the semi-rough) called: AOAs
- The area where the robot has to mow. (ex: the fairway) called: CMAs
- The area where the robot CANNOT drive (ex: bunkers or wet spot) called: NOAs
- The pathway to the next hole. called: InterAOApaths
- Optional: Hubs to interconnect multiple pathways
Using a hub to connect multiple pathways is a key feature of the Turflynx, depending on which fairways you choose to mow, the robot will automatically calculate the quickest way from one fairway to the next, and the hub is where the robot will turn to drive to the ensuing path.
Once the technician finishes, they will process the map, smooth the shapes, and send the configuration to the robot. Bonus point, you can use one configuration on multiple robots at the same time, no need to remap everything!
Our experience with the turflynx?
To fully understand our experience with the F315 AWD, you need to understand the design of our course.
WINSTONgolf has two 18 holes courses:
• The WINSTONopen, a more classic parkland design, is relatively flat and wide open.
• The WINSTONlinks, an EXTREME links design, is tight and narrow.
Once you understand the challenge the links are, you can imagine the difficulty it would be for a driverless machine.
Our experience with the Turflynx was mixed, from being perfect on the Open to only passable on the links course:
A) The good part:
- 100% wireless:
Except for the RTK base station and the charging station, you will require no wire, meaning you can do unlimited change in the mapping.
- The extreme accuracy:
With a subcentimeter accurate RTK antenna, the robot produces perfect stripes on the fairway, with three different patterns, -10°, +10°, and longitudinal (editor’s note: they have now installed a black and white pattern), so you will have a perfect chess board look.
- 100% electric:
Although it comes with a small drawback (a limited autonomy), being 100% electric offers so many advantages:
a) It’s silent! So silent that the mower can mow ten meters from a golfer and not be a nuisance.
b) No leak possible! No more worries about hydraulic oil ruining your pristine fairways.
c) It is economical! No more six-digit diesel bills!
- Lightweight: Our 26inches, 3WD drives robot, only weighted a shy 700kgs (1545lbs), far from the 1127kgs (2485lbs) of our traditional 8700a.
- Fully autonomous:
a) Simply start it in the morning and don’t think about it anymore, the machine will return after it finishes the task.
b) Program a timer: You want the mower to start at 3 am before that weekend tournament but don’t want to wake up at 2:30 am? Set a timer on the machine and leave it on the pickup location. The robot will start autonomously, and now you can show up at 6 am and appreciate freshly cut fairways.
c) Unlike other robot makers (i.e. Precision maker), the robot can legally drive without supervision on private propriety.
- It’s more than just a mower… more on that later!
B) The not so good part:
- Cell coverage:
This was our biggest drawback since our course is poorly covered. With only one company and the 4G bandwidth, our robot couldn’t connect to the server in Portugal, meaning the app (web-based) could not send us any notifications.
- The installation requires a technician.
This was a two-part problem:
a) Once you have the boundary drawn, if you want to make any changes, you need to get your dealer or Turflynx technician to come to your place.
b) Think twice! If you want to put a GUR or place some rope, do some sodding, etc. the robot will stay in front of them and will require you to move the obstacle / or the robot.
- It still requires an operator to drive in and out and wash the units and control the HOC / QOC.
- It doesn’t work on an extreme design. More on that later!
- It’s pricy!
C) Some design limitation?
As seen in the previous picture, the links course is too extreme.
We had two issues due to the design:
A) The GPS deviation:
We noticed that on extreme slopes (especially on slopes going left, right, left, right) that it would leave unmowed stripes between two passes, this error is due to the position of the GPS because the robot doesn’t adjust on the roll/pitch angle.
B) Physical limitation:
That said, on a more classic design, like our Open course, the Turflynx achieved better quality than any greenkeeper.
More than just a mower!
Buying a Turflynx F315 is buying more than a mower, with all the technology already inside, you can use your robot to verticut! A massive advantage of the GPS unit is, you can map all your sprinklers, and the robot can lift one unit only to drive over without causing any damage!
And this is just what is available, with all the technology already installed in your robot, you will soon be able to use roller, LED treatment units, brush… with no upgrade needed!
• You can drive it manually…ish via the joystick, but it’s really just to drive it in and out the shed.
• There is no light on it, except a big orange flashing light, making it impossible to drive manually at night or early morning.
• They can remotly diagnose your robot, no waiting time.
• You can install NDVI sensors on the robot.
• Even if your robot is 155cm (61inches) wide, you can set the robot to mow any width desired. The robot will mow multiple times in the same direction to obtain your desired result.
• The company can tailor-make the robot for you. (for example, longer arms to work on a steeper slope).
• The support, consumer service, and dealer network is TOP NOTCH.
Overall experience, in my opinion, the Turflynx F315 is the robot of the future with a superb support team. Investing in a Turflynx is a risk-free operation.