Seth Deere and Martin Neff are the in-house, hands-on robotic mower experts at Autmow Robotic Mowing. Here they are in December 2022 discussing recent breakthroughs in robotic mower technologies and what customers can expect to see in 2023.
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More companies = more options for robotic mowers
Seth and Martin were pretty excited to see more companies enter the robotic mower market in 2022. More competition means affordable and attractive options for customers, especially those who want wireless technology.
Many robotic mowers, especially in the residential market, still rely on special underground boundary cables to define mowing zones and property boundaries. But these cables can get dislodged or broken. It’s not unusual for owners to have to re-install them.
Still, changing the range for a wired robotic mower means cutting, splicing, and reburying the wires.
Wireless technology is a huge selling point that’s been largely limited to the commercial market. This is one development residential customers want to see in 2023, and the industry knows this.
what will happen with Wireless Robotic mower Tech in 2023?
Right now, there are two major wireless technologies on the market. A third is under development.
- Husqvarna developed the Exact Position Operating System (EPOS), now the industry’s most sophisticated wireless guidance technology. EPOS uses satellites and cell towers with real-time kinematic (RTK) reference stations. EPOS was added to a smaller model in 2022. Husvarna is expected to continue expanding EPOS to more mowers in 2023 – perhaps even to its residential robotic mower fleet.
2. More companies will consider RTK, which is a proven, reliable technology. In addition, two new competitors that already use RTK will enter the US market in 2023.
3. At least one manufacturer, Toro, is working on a vision-based navigation system to map out property lines and boundaries. This system uses four cameras to create 3D maps and does not relay on satellites or RTK.
Toro’s system can be a game-changing solution for people who live in areas with spotty satellite and GPS signals and who don’t like using cables. Plus, Toro is America’s #1 lawn mower brand; anything it does is bound to be newsworthy.
There is a potential drawback to Toro’s approach: “a lot of people,” Seth notes, “may not be fans of having a camera just roaming around.” Toro plans to stress that the system is kept under lock with a PIN so it won’t be “live-streaming your lawn.”
European Players Will Be Entering the US Commercial Market
Kress is a well-established brand from Germany expected to enter the US market in 2023 with five wireless robotic mowers. This could shake up the commercial robotic mower space. (Think of David Beckham joining the LA Galaxy back in ‘07.)
The Kress Mission line is guided by the company’s proprietary RTKᶰ technology and satellites. Owners can map out zones and boundaries using a kind of measuring wheel that has a detachable antenna connected to a satellite system. After recording the measurements, the antenna is then mounted to the robotic mower. According to the website, a backup Inertial Navigation System (INS) kicks in gear if the satellite signal is interrupted.
One Mission mower covers less than an acre per battery charge, while the other five covers 1.25, 1.75, 4.5, and 9 acres.
Luba is manufactured in China by Mammotion and sold in Europe and Asia. It’s expected to enter the US market in early 2023. Luba uses RTK technology and has four-wheel drive to tackle slopes at sharper angles than competitors. It also has ultrasonic radars that detect and avoid obstacles as small as 2”.
Blade Retrofits for Husqvarna Commercial Lines
Husqvarna will introduce a five-blade cutting disc for its 550 EPOS robotic mower in 2023. These blades can be fitted to earlier commercial robotic mowers as well, giving the entire existing commercial fleet more pattern-cutting capabilities.
Wired Robotic Mowers Will Be Priced to Sell in 2023
Many robotic mowers still use ground wires. Anyone planning to buy one for a smaller lawn – perhaps two acres or less – would be smart to check them out because they will be priced to sell!
These older-style mowers have another advantage: they work everywhere and do not rely on a clear signal to function. Wireless technology doesn’t work around mountains, trees, and buildings. Boundary wires remain the only foolproof option for robotic mowers to work without interruption.
How to Select a Robotic Mower in 2023
How should a residential customer approach buy a robotic mower in 2023?
First, get the right mower for the job. Robotic mowers are sized for batteries and features to fit acreage and terrain characteristics. High-tech features are exciting but are often secondary considerations that depend on customer budgets.
Basic features in the residential market let customers select grass height, smartphone range for programming, and compatibility with obstacles like dog fences.
Are there slopes in the terrain? The smallest automated mowers work on 14° – 19° slopes, while a commercial four-wheel drive mower handles slopes as steep as 35°.
Lastly, consider what technologies will work best for you, keeping in mind that wireless technology is still somewhat limited in the residential market.
Read about 2022 highlights in the robotic mower industry.
Do You Have More Questions About Which Robotic Mower Is Right For You?
Everyone’s lawn is different. If you have questions about what’s the best robotic mower for yours, please reach out to us for a custom review. We can determine what features your mower must have versus those that are nice to have, and eliminate any that bring minimal value to you.
Let’s get started to find the right automated mower for you!