If we say the words Equip Expo, what comes to mind? Well, if you are not nerd chic like us, maybe nothing. So for the uninitiated, we will tell you. The Equip Expo is a premier event in Louisville, KY, each fall, dedicated to all sorts of businesses that are focused on the outdoors (landscaping, hardscaping, tree care, irrigation, and much more.) All the cool kids from the robotic mowing industry are there, including our friends at ECHO Robotics.
Luckily for us, right at the time of the Equip Expo 2023, our own Martin Neff had finally cleared up all his entanglements. That’s right: he was once again allowed to leave the state of Ohio. He went to the Equip Expo and caught up with ECHO Robotics sales manager Jake Vollbeer.
Jake and the team at ECHO had brought more toys than Santa’s sack.
Some of these new innovations are already on the market and some are just prototypes. But Jake was kind enough to walk us through them all. And he even let us in on the secret of what’s next at ECHO Robotics. (How’s that for a tease?)
New Wireless System: WISENAV
The biggest development for the ECHO Robotics line of robotic mowers is a new software package that allows for wireless setup. Before, you had to put boundary wire around your property, even if you were using an ECHO RTK product. (You may remember this from our video showing how ECHO Robotics products allow for autonomous golf course maintenance.) Now, wire around boundary edges is no longer necessary with ECHO robotic turf maintenance products.
The star of the show is WISENAV, which stands for Wireless Satellite Exact Navigation. This software is available for the ECHO Turf Mower 1000 and ECHO Turf Mower 2000. It is also available on the autonomous golf range picker.
WISENAV allows you to create boundaries, safety zones, and areas to avoid, all without wire. You can control these zones and change them on the fly, right in the app.
The only time you need to use boundary wire with any ECHO Robotics WISENAV products is around the charging station. This allows for better docking. And in many ways, we actually find boundary wire near a charging station to be an advantage. That way, you can put the charging station almost anywhere, including areas that might block satellite signal.
You can read more about the WISENAV system here.
New Base Station
Another innovation that Jake shared is actually the one that was most eye-popping for us. Jake showed us the new ECHO Robotics Base Station.
We get it: on the surface, a new base station isn’t that exciting. It’s a little more covered up and a little more streamlined. Ho-hum.
However, what got our corneas strained is the fact that you now have a choice between two versions of ECHO Robotics base stations. One has a 200-meter line of sight. But now, ECHO offers a 5G version with an astounding 5-mile radius. A 5-mile radius? That’s enough to make robotic mower nerds like us get an arrhythmia.
Think about it: with a 5-mile radius, you are no longer limited to just one piece of robotic property maintenance equipment per base station. Municipalities, large campuses, golf courses…all of these types of clients (and more) would benefit from such a system. ECHO robotics can now deliver that solution.
If you are looking for a bit more detail about some of this terminology we are using, this article does a good job of laying it out.
Other New and Upcoming Innovations
Though these were the main two new additions to the already strong ECHO Robotics product line, Jake did show us a couple of other new wrinkles, which we describe below.
New and improved golf ball protection discs: ECHO Robotics products are well-optimized for robotic golf course maintenance. But you can’t have your robotic mower running over golf balls. That would destroy the blade. With ECHO’s golf ball protection discs, you need not worry. They guide the balls away from the blade. And the newest version allows for lower cut heights than the previous version did because it doesn’t ride up as much, especially on denser turf.
Lower cut height discs: Of course, a lower cut height is valuable even when you don’t have a golf ball protection disc on your blade. To that end, ECHO Robotics mowers now go down to as low as .6”.
Roller kit: This innovation is a prototype, so don’t go running to the Autmow website looking to buy yours quite yet. But soon, ECHO robotic mowers will have a roller kit attachment. Combining that with the WISENAV system, you can use ECHO robotic mowers to make some great striped patterns. And long-time viewers of the Autmow YouTube channel know how much we love our stripies.
The Big Secret Revealed: What’s Next for ECHO Robotics?
As we teased in the intro, Jake also let us in on what ECHO Robotics is working on next. In fact, because it is so new, Jake didn’t even have any prototypes to show us yet.
What is it that they are working on? More than their current 3 blades per disc.
Why does that matter? Because then ECHO robotic lawn mowers can give users even more of a fine cut than they already do.
Are ECHO Robotics Products Right for You?
We hope that our quick video and quick summary here help give you some of the basics about the ECHO Robotics golf range picker and its range of turf mowers. But are they the right fit for you? That requires a bit more detective work on our part.
Of course, we are like Holmes and Watson when it comes to robotic property maintenance. We love to help identify which robotic products are the best fit for your needs. If you are interested in ECHO Robotics, contact Autmow. We can help you determine what might be the best in your space.
And we promise not to get too geeky about robotic mowers in the process. Nope, we will be just the perfect amount of geek.