Back in January, iRobot announced its latest upcoming robot helper. It’s not a robot vacuum cleaner, but an autonomous lawnmower called Terra. Sure, autonomous lawnmowers have been around for a bit, but the Terra has some unique features that may help it compete with the best electric lawn mowers.
One unique trick that it has up its robotic sleeve is that it uses wireless beacons to learn what your yard looks like. This means that it doesn’t have to use long wires around the perimeter of your yard. It looks like this robot lawn mower is still in beta testing, but according to The Verge, the company says that things are going well. In fact, we may see them for sale as early as 2020 here in the US, but we don’t yet have any info on pricing.
At this point, it looks like we have more details on how this lawnmower will do the job. For instance, we know that the Terra should be within sight range of three beacons “at all times” to optimally function and that the number of beacons needed depends on how complex your yard is.”
One downside seems to be that these beacons have to be installed by a professional so the robot can properly do its job. The good news is that this won’t cost you more at launch. After that, we don’t know. The beacons use standard AA batteries that need to be changed once a year.
We also know that there will be more than one model of Terra, with some coming with a Bluetooth remote so that you can control it yourself. It also looks like the remote connects via Bluetooth and you can store it inside the top of the robot.
As for the charging base, it will plug into a standard outlet. When the robot finishes its chore, or if the battery gets low, it will return there for a charge. Then it will go back to the task once powered up.
Naturally, the robot is too small to store the grass clipping. It will instead micro-mulch the grass. Apparently the Terra has two different battery ratings for the same battery: 98 watt-hours or 92 watt-hours. Right now we don’t know which one is the real rating.
And if you are worried that rain will keep your robot lawn mower from working, don’t be. It has an IP55 rating, so it should be safe from debris and water. The company does advise that you keep your Terra indoors during the winter though.
But what about theft? Can’t anyone just steal your helpless little lawn bot? If this happens, the thief will find it to be useless. The Terra has theft protection software that makes it inoperable if it’s placed in a yard it’s not mapped for.
Those are some pretty decent features for a robotic lawnmower. I know I’m excited. And we don’t have long to wait either. 2020 is not that far off.