CUTTING EDGE: Auto-mower trims lawn for users

Published 4:00 am Thursday, July 19, 2018

By Lauren Johnson

Almost all day long, a small robot can be found methodically making its way across the lawn of a home on Spradley drive.

For almost two months now, the demo Husqvarna Auto-mower has been mowing the home’s grass as an advertising move for Dunn’s True Value, which sells the product.

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“It’s a really good product and has gotten a lot of attention,” said Larry Dunn, owner of Dunn’s True Value. “People are really amazed when they drive by and look at it.”

The robo-mower is not the only product of its kind, and although they are not necessarily common here yet; one million were sold in the U.S. between 2005 and 2015, but three years later almost a full extra million have been sold.

“It’s incredibly efficient and smart,” said Dunn. “It’s a neat concept and is something that’s relatively new. It’s a good product, and it’s really catching on.”

When setting up the robotic mower, users can program how long it should run and what time to run. The demo mower on Spradley, for example, has been programmed to run from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

On this particular lot, the robotic mower cuts the grass in the front of the house and is also able to cut hay grass in the back, which Dunn said is a hard grass that is difficult to cut.

It cuts grass every day with a battery life of about five hours between charges. Once the battery starts running low, it goes to the charging station to recharge until its ready to come back out and go to work again.

“In the event that there is no grass to cut, for instance when we had the really dry weather a couple of months ago for about two weeks, it will park itself at the charging station because it knows there isn’t anything growing or anything to cut. It’s smart enough to detect that,” Dunn said.

The mower will know when there is no grass to cut based on resistance. “There is a spinner plate that the blades are mounted on, and if it just free spins with no resistance, it knows there’s nothing there to cut,” Dunn said.

A perimeter wire is used to keep the mower cutting grass within a certain boundary, and when it gets to the boundary line, it will back up, turn around, and keep going in another direction.

The mower also has a GPS tracking system installed, so owners can tell where it is at any time. Dunn said, “I can check it on my phone and tell what it’s doing, where it’s been, and what battery life it has. It tells me if it’s charging, and I can also adjust the cutting height all from my phone.”

In the event that someone tries to steal the mower, the tracking system will tell the owner where it is, so the police can be notified and able to get it back easily.

The robotic mower can cut grass even in the rain. “It cuts rain or shine,” said Dunn. “One day when we had a big thunder storm and it was pouring rain, lighting, and the whole nine yards, I used my phone and told it to go park. It sent a message to it, and it went back to it’s charging station to park for the rest of the day.

“There’s hardly any maintenance,” Dunn said. “It’s relatively cheap to operate. You just have to change the blades about every three or four weeks, and you get three sets of blades for $20.”

The average price for a Robotic mower is $1,999.95; the demo mower on Spradley, one of the largest models, is $3,499.95.

It’s the number one selling robotic mower in the world. It doesn’t make any noise, manages steep slopes, and works in the rain.

This type of lawnmower is served, sold, and can be serviced at Dunn’s True Value located at 804 Highway 231 S. Troy, Alabama.