Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemi Jamillah is the UK Editor for The Next Web. She's based in London. You can hear her on BBC Radio 5Live's Outriders. Follow on Twitter @jemimah_knight or drop a line to [email protected]
From November 1, Honda UK is coming to invade your back yard with robots. Cool right?
The Honda Miimo is the company’s first commercial product for domestic use and it’s a little lawn mower. We can only guess that ASIMO turned down the opportunity to be a gardener for now.
Miimo doesn’t need much human interaction. It works to trim lawns during the mowing season by heading out onto the grass several times a week to cut just 2-3 mm at a time. This way there are fewer clippings and these don’t need to be collected as they are dispersed back onto the lawn to act as fertiliser.
Miimo can be set to one of three modes: random, directional or mixed. These are set to suit the size, shape and layout of a garden. Random navigates the lawn without a fixed pattern, directional will move back and forth in a more uniform way and mixed mode provides both random and directional cutting.
Under the hood, Miimo has a fan built into its blade holder to optimise airflow and suck grass toward the blades. When the unit meets a patch of longer grass it will automatically reduce wheel speed but maintain the blade speed to deal with the areas effectively.
Miimo also has a ‘yaw’ sensor which works with its drive motors to create a neater finish on slopes. It is designed to ensure it doesn’t veer off on slopes too so that the lawn will have an even cut. The little mower can climb slopes of up to 24 degrees and adjust itself to the change in terrain.
Honda Miimo is self-charging and is powered by a high performance lithium-ion battery. It navigates gardens using a combination of controls, timers and real-time sensory feedback.
The mower works within a boundary wire which can be installed underground or in the grass around the perimeter of a lawn. The boundary wire not only keeps Miimo in its place, but can also be used to create up to five different areas within a garden which can all be treated individually. Not a bad if the grass needs cutting while the kids are in the yard.
Alternatively you could send it on a nice walk in the park with ASIMO as seen in the picture below.
Honda says that European sales of robotic mowers are growing rapidly and attributes this to environmental issues. The little mowers don’t emit CO2, there are no cuttings to dispose of and they are considerably quieter than petrol models.
Running costs are also comparatively low, Miimo uses around £12 worth of electricity each season on a typical lawn.
More amusingly. Miimo also has a self-protection feature. It has two lift sensors which are triggered if it leaves the ground. These ensure it shuts down completely to avoid lost fingers, and at the same time, an alarm sounds. The robot cannot be used again until the owner inputs a PIN.
At launch, Honda Miimo will be available in two models, the HRM300 and HRM500. The HRM500 is ideal for larger, more complex gardens with several boundaries and obstacles; with a cutting permiter of 500m and the ability to mow up to a total lawn size of 3,000 square metres. The HRM300 is more suited to smaller, less complex gardens; with a cutting perimeter of 300m and the ability to cover up to 2,200 square metres. Recommended retail prices will range between £1990 and £2235 (including VAT).
Let’s hope the upgrade can also carry a tray of cocktails.
Image credit: Peter Kaminsky / Flickr
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.