We had the pleasure of installing for one of the Husqvarna AutomowerFirst winners today! Keep an eye on Craig's posts and see how his new family member does on its very own patch of grass.
The Automower is scheduled to be “installed” today, so I thought I would write up what I expect. It will be (potentially) interesting to compare these ideas with what I eventually conclude about the unit at the end of my trial.
First, I expect the hardware to be pretty good and appropriate for our job, if not overkill. The unit I’m receiving, a Husqvarna Automower 450X, is able to maintain up to 1.25 acres. The grassy area of our urban backyard, where the unit will be working, is only about 40 feet by 20 feet, so this unit will never be stressed power-wise. Also, it’s almost perfectly flat, so the unit’s ability to climb hills won’t be tested, at least not unless I move it to the side yard in the future (no fence there, so it might risk being stolen).
Second, this unit has boundary wire sensors, touch sensors, and even GPS, so it should be able to navigate our yard with no problems. Our yard (pictured above) does have a swingset/playset with some complicated accessories (e.g., a rope ladder and a slide), so it’ll be interesting to see how the unit handles those areas. I already have to do extensive trimming around the base of the playset — it has some areas that our regular lawnmower doesn’t reach — so that shouldn’t be much different.
Third, I expect the installation to be a challenge. Husqvarna is sending the unit with a guy — Jeff — who will do a professional install and orient me about the product’s use and maintenance. I’ve read through the Automower’s owner manual and there are some limitations on where the charging base can be placed and where the boundary wire can be routed that might make our installation more complicated than a typical suburban backyard.
The six grassy areas that make up our “yard” are hashed in red.Finally, I don’t expect the unit to save me much work. Our “yard” that surrounds our house (see above) is actually broken up into six discontiguous areas of grass. The Automower is able to mow at most two discontiguous areas, but the two areas have to be surrounded by the same continuous boundary wire and you need to manually carry the unit from one area to the other area, so I’m expecting that the Automower will be confined to our backyard during this trial. While that still saves me some effort, it’s not like I won’t still be getting out the lawnmower every few days all summer. Eventually, I hope a robo-mower will be able to park itself inside the garage, open and close the garage door on its own, go mow all parts of a lawn as needed autonomously, and then return to its charging station in the garage. We’re not there yet…maybe in 5 years.
So, we’ll see how this goes. I’ve been told that the Automower 450X is the 4th generation of robo-mower produced by Husqvarna, so it’s among the most advanced in the world. It will be interesting to find out whether that’s enough to replace either a middle-aged dad (or a neighborhood 14-year-old) when it comes to mowing our lawn. Stay tuned…more posts to follow!