Cutting edge: Colorado company introduces grass mowing robot

LONGMONT, Colo. — Finally, someone can mow your lawn quickly without taking water breaks.

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A Colorado-based company introduced a fully autonomous, all-electric commercial mower, The Denver Post reported.

Scythe Robotics, based in Longmont, introduced the new, cutting-edge mower in a news release on Tuesday.

“Every landscaper we talked to said they didn’t have enough workers to do their jobs today,” CEO Jack Morrison, who founded Scythe Robotics with Isaac Roberts and Davis Foster in 2017, told the Post.

Roberts said the cost of Scythe’s invention is 40% less than a traditional mower, and allows landscaping companies to avoid hiring and firing workers when seasons change, the newspaper reported. It also will allow companies to avoid buying expensive equipment.

The autonomous mower, called Robot as a Service, uses eight high-dynamic-range cameras and sensors to detect and avoid people, animals and other obstacles, the Daily Camera reported. If the sensors fail to locate an object, bumper sensors help it adjust or stop if it runs into something unexpected, according to the Post.

Scythe customers will be billed by acres mowed, rather than buying the machines outright, according to the Daily Camera.

Morrison, who came to Colorado for a robotics Ph.D. program, said he conceived the idea for a robotic mower while trimming the grass on his 2-acre property.

“Things clicked when I was mowing my lawn,” Morrison told Colorado Inno.

Based on its specifications, the 4-foot-long mower has a 52-inch mowing deck and a battery that lasts for eight hours, the newspaper reported. That would allow the machine to mow 2 acres per hour.

“To date, commercial landscape contractors haven’t had a technology partner who enables them to keep up with demand and to operate emissions-free. We are that partner,” Morrison said in a statement. “Our autonomous mower gives them the ability to grow their business, while staying green. It’s designed from the ground up to be an order of magnitude more reliable, more productive, and safer than any existing machine by incorporating state of the art autonomy with a rugged, all-electric design.”

The mower maps out the area to be mowed and gathers information on boundaries and land features, the Post reported. The information is collected and stored for the next time it is used on the property, the newspaper reported.

“I have been happy with what they have been doing,” Don Ward, president of Ward’s Lawn Service in Longmont who has been helping Scythe test various models of the mower, told the Post. “The new model is light years ahead of the other one.”

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