The future comes today
by Andy Bryenton
While it’s unlikely that your breakfast was prepared for you this morning by an automaton in a crisp butler’s uniform, there is one task around the house which is now able to be undertaken entirely by ‘artificial intelligence’.
Automatic lawn mowers have been a dream since the first time an enterprising soul attached a radio control unit to their old two-stroke, but the issue has always been a similar one to the main roadblock in the path of the robotic vacuum cleaner — we don’t all have laser-flat, empty lawns.
Defining the path where the mower had to travel was a challenge, and leaving such a machine alone raised the spectre of it becoming stuck in a garden bed, simply chewing up your favourite shrubbery. A second issue was power — old-fashioned batteries were not up to the task of powering a robotic mower for very long or very far.
Now Husqvarna — who have spent years developing automated mowing technology — have revealed a solution to both issues, and the era of the fully robotic garden helper is here. Using advanced systems the like of which are deployed in self-driving tractors and harvesters, the new Automower 450X-line uses GPS to build a map of your garden, and won’t stray out of bounds.
A special sensor array uses ultrasonic ‘pings’ — like the sonar on a submarine — to literally sound out obstacles and avoid them.
Meanwhile, a connection to the internet means that you can command, monitor and control your mower with your smartphone, from anywhere.Husqvarna has designed the Automower 450X-line to handle tough terrain — slopes up to 45 degrees, rugged grass and bumpy surfaces. It’s been rendered weatherproof to work in all conditions and can handle even hefty lawn sizes on a one hour charge.
Being electric, it’s quiet, has no emissions and contains very few moving parts for ease of maintenance. You can define the cutting area and a path, then set the Automower to work remotely — secure in the knowledge that it will mow only grass, provide an excellent finish, and it can’t even be stolen — GPS security systems alert the owner to any attempts to tamper with the unit. Another chore ticked off the list by automation!