This is part 8 of the series “Automower”, click here to read the “Part 1: Introduction to the Automower”.
Now that we have covered every point about those little robots, let’s have a recap of what I like and don’t like and would do to improve the Automower.
- The positive points:
- Fully autonomous: They operate 24/7 and return to charge and resume work by themselves.
- 100% Electric: Extremely silent (less than 60db) and leak-free.
- Lightweight: At only 13.5kg (30lbs) for the heaviest one, the robots aren’t compacting the ground. While there is no research on it yet, it is expected to increase root lengths, water infiltration, and to reduce wormcast activity.
- Clipping free and return to N: The very short clippings are expected to decompose and return to N faster. Which would result in reduced thatch and less inputs requirements.
- Integrated growth control: Using a 2D map, the robot is always prioritizing areas with higher levels of growth.
- Minimal maintenance: With 2 to 3 weeks life expectancy, the blades are the only part of the robot that require maintenance.
- Adaptatively: The automower is the only robot on the market that can continue to perform even if the working area is disturbed, as long as any zones under repair are fenced.
- Height of cut: With a range from 10mm (0.392″) to 50mm (1.96″) the automower can suit everybody, plus the ease to change the HOC with the touch of a finger, is a serious saving of time.
- Work on schedule: Don’t want the robot to work during the day but only at night? Simply set a scheduled program and the robot will stop and start on his own while you sleep!
- Sustainability: With a carbon neutral footprint and a low consumption of electricity, the automowers are one of the most sustainable options to maintain high quality sports turf.
- The fleet service: Controlling all your robots with a touch of a finger is really handy especially in the case of an event, or a weather change.
- Task redistribution: By using autonomous robots on your fairways, you will be able to allocate your crew to more detailing jobs. Increasing the overall quality of the course.
2. Negative points:
- Auto-check: You should be able to maintain and repair your robot yourself.
- Wire based: The need for a wire is very limiting, once installed, it is “permanent”.
- Electricity: Due to the need for charging stations, an electric outlet point can require a lot of earth work… unless you choose to use solar panels.
- The height of cut step: With a minimum step of 2.5mm (0.10″), it is pretty limiting for a course manager.
- Blade life expectancy: The life expectancy of the blades is really short, from 2 to 3 weeks, it requires constant attention.
- Fragility: The robots are made of plastic and tend to break easily when golf ball hit them directly. They can also be totalled in a matter of seconds if someone drives over them.
- The charging station: Having the charging stations on the side of the fairways is a visual distraction for the golfers, but also an obstacle to the semi-rough mowers.
- Tracking: If you have heavy and wet fairways, it is possible, especially with the 520 model, for the robot to create two tracks, 50 cm in length at the front of the charging station by continuously moving in and out at the same spot. A turf matt can solve this problem.
3. What I would change to improve the automower:
- Autocheck lite and training: I would LOVE to see Husqvarna releasing an AutoCheck lite for the consumer and some paid training to allow users to be independent in the maintenance of their fleet.
- “Touch and go”: Some cheaper robots such as the Worx (€700 vs €5 000) are also equipped with ultra-wave sensors, which enable them to dodge the obstacles… and it’s really impressive! (Video below)
- Clean up passes: The “corridor width” option of the Automower is as the name suggests, a corridor and not a proper clean up pass option.
- An all-in-one app: As great as the AMC and FleetService apps are, it is really frustrating having to jump from one to the other all the time. It would be great to include the option of the AMC in the Fleet Service.
Wireless… bigger robot…? Well… here is what Husqvarna is working on…
Click here to read “Part 11: Future of the Automower”.