Very few American homes are without a personal service robot of some kind, and 2019 looks to bring a new category of robot to consumers in the US and Europe. Smart robot lawn mowers are coming, and they’re bringing blades with them. With the introduction of Terra, iRobot is changing the robot lawn mowing game by adding in something that current generation robot lawn mowers are largely lacking in: a brain.
While most robot lawn mowers on the market run in random patterns around the yard, or worse yet, require that age-old concept of a manual remote control for operation, iRobot is taking its Imprint™ Smart Mapping Technology and thrusting it into the Great Outdoors. Just like its Roomba vacuums or Braava mops, the iRobot Terra is a smart robot that is powered by a rechargeable battery, one that it will fill and empty all on its own without any need for user intervention.
This intelligent lawn mower will mow as much grass as possible before running out of juice, return to recharge on its own, and then, of course, finish the job in due time. The iRobot Terra ships with a charging dock and will be available in Germany sometime in 2019, although no specific calendar date or price has yet been announced. US-based customers can look forward to a beta program sometime this year as well, which will presumably cost less than the model available in Germany.
iRobot developed a brand new style of navigation designed specifically for the needs of the Terra, as navigating a yard is wholly different from navigating the inside of a house. While iRobot’s Roomba line utilizes a series of bump sensors and cameras to see rooms and identify locations by familiar landmarks such as furniture, identifying such objects in a yard is likely not as simple a task. That’s where the new wireless communication system comes into play, one that communicates with Terra and helps it to identify where to mow and where to stay away from.
Terra will ship with a set of wireless beacons, which look like stakes in a garden, that need to be placed around the yard. While the specifics aren’t available just yet, iRobot says that Terra only needs one manual drive around the perimeter of the yard before it can get going on its own, giving you the promise of fresh cut grass smell without the sweaty back and dingy clothes. It’s also got a tough exterior and gnarly wheels for those extra muddy spots in the yard. As with the high-end Roomba series, Terra utilizes the Imprint™ Smart Mapping Technology, which drives the mower in logical lines and remembers its location at all times.
Also like iRobot’s Roomba series, Terra connects with the iRobot app which, in turn, can be used to schedule mowings at any time of the day or even at night if you’re feeling particularly mischevious. A single one-off cleaning can be done at any time by clicking the giant “Mow” button in the app, and even adjusting the height of grass cutting is a slider away. While this Summer probably won’t be the first you’ll have that fresh cut grass smell without doing it yourself or paying someone else, the wizards at iRobot will certainly have your olfactory senses begging for it in the near future.