Honda Enters European Robotic Lawn Mower Market
Aug 24, 2012
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Honda will enter the European robotic lawn mower market with the introduction of the Miimo for home use.
The Miimo operates a 'continuous cutting' system, typically mowing just 2-3 mm of grass at a time, several times each week. It cuts in a random pattern, said to cause less stress on the grass, more healthy growth, and reduced moss and weeds. The mower navigates the lawn through an intelligent combination of controls, timers, and real-time sensory feedback. A boundary wire is installed under the ground or in the grass around the perimeter of the area to be mowed. The robot detects the wire and stays within it.
The robot is powered by a lithium-ion battery and is self-charging - monitoring its battery level and returning to its docking station when it needs to recharge.
The mower is engineered with a fan, built-in to its blade holder, to create airflow to draw grass towards the blades.
Three blades are designed to bend rather than shatter on impact with hard objects, reducing the danger of pieces of broken blade being left on the lawn. Cutting height is adjustable between 20 mm and 60 mm, to suit the conditions and time of year.
Honda said European sales of robotic mowers are growing rapidly and the garden is increasingly used as an "outdoor living room." The robotic mower is also a solution for an ageing population that may not be able to mow the lawn.
The mowers also deliver environmental benefits, in that it does not produce CO2, is quieter than gas-powered mowers, and creates no grass cuttings to dispose of.
The robot operates in one of three modes: Random, Directional, or Mixed, to suit the size and type of lawn. In Random mode the mower navigates the lawn without a fixed pattern. In Directional mode it moves back and forth in a more uniform fashion to ensure a faster cut. In Mixed mode it allows intervals of random and directional cutting.
The robot's three, independent 360 degree bump sensors, which detect a solid contact between it and any obstacle. If a bump sensor is activated, it will stop, turn, and move away from the point of contact in a different direction.
The mower can ascend slopes and, when it encounters patches of thick or long grass, it will automatically reduce wheel speed but maintain blade speed in order to deal with tough areas effectively.
Two lift sensors are triggered if the mower leaves the ground. On activation the mower shuts down completely, an alarm sounds, and the mower cannot then be used until the owner inputs a unique PIN.
The mower will be available in two models. The model 300 is offers a maximum perimeter cut of 300 m; the model 500 m offers a maximum perimeter cut of 500m.
The Honda Miimo will be manufactured by Honda France Manufacturing in Orlean. It will be available from Honda dealers across Europe in early 2013.
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