The Robotica Zucchetti Evolution: State-of-the-art Robotic lawnmowing system
By Mike Hanlon
June 18, 2005
June 19, 2005 If you’re an avid gardener with a sizeable area of lawn to mow, the Evolution might be just what you need so you can spend more quality time with the roses and plants which thrive on additional care. The Evolution is a premium quality lawn mowing robot built by Italian industrial robotics manufacturer Robotica Zucchetti and is a prime example of just how far automated systems have come in saving time and money in the home. It’s electric, recharges itself and will work any hours of the day or night you require, and will look after three quarters of an acre of grass on its own. If you have the right sized lawn that makes the Evolution a bargain at US$2299.
You can even use more than one Evolution mower in a single area with separate recharging stations, or use just one mower for a number of mowing areas.
Manufactured in Italy by Robotica Zucchetti, a division of industrial robotics manufacturer Zucchetti Centro Sistemi, the Evolution is a premium quality lawn mowing robot and the new top-of-the-line model of the Zucchetti lawnmowing range and it’s an interesting benchmark for how far we’ve come with working practical robots that can save time and money in the home.
If you’re an avid gardener with a sizeable area of lawn to mow, the Evolution might be just what you need so you can spend more quality time with the roses and plants which thrive on additional care. You can even use more than one Evolution mower in a single area with separate recharging stations, or use just one mower for a number of mowing areas.
One Evolution can maintain an area of around 3000 square metres (three quarters of an acre) on its own providing there are no inclines greater than 27 degrees to mow – you might have to reboot the system in the case of rain or blackout, but otherwise it’s a set-and-forget system where the Evolution charges itself and schedules its own work.
Being electric, the Evolution is much quieter than a gas-powered lawnmower, so in the right circumstances (i.e. lack of immediate neighbours), it can work at night as well. Simply set the start and end times and the days on which you want the mower to operate and it can maintain a lawn by working a few hours every day or night, ensuring the grass is always kept at the optimal height you decide (from 20 mm to up to 70 mm), rather than the compromise of when it is being mowed weekly – weekly mowing until now has been a concession to human scheduling and work patterns, something to which the robotic workforce will be oblivious. When you’re first installing the Evolution system, you’ll need to mow it with a traditional lawnmower if your grass is longer than 10cm.
Its optimised spiral mowing system allows Evolution to mulch the grass and fertilize the lawn at the same time that it's mowing it, mainly because there’s no viable robotic lawnmower that can empty its own grass catcher just yet.
Though the Evolution is waterproof, it stops if rain begins in order to care for the lawn. It’ll also stop if it gets overturned, so it’s safe around children.
The Evolution comes with the company’s patented "auto programming" software, which incorporates recognition of the percentage of the total area mowed, and although we don’t have a detailed understanding of the mower’s intelligence, it does track and measure the size of the area via a perimeter wire which can either be attached to the ground with plastic spikes or buried at a depth of up to 10cm (four inches) and it can recognise long grass and each model clearly gets smarter than the last one. In order to take advantage of the increasing smarts of each successive generation of Evolution, it’s also possible to download the latest software available from the company’s website to upgrade.
And because it’s capable of covering 300 square metres an hour, it’s quite feasible that you might share the Evolution with a neighbour or two.
At US$2299, the Evolution isn’t cheap – but it might well prove to offer a significant saving compared to a human gardener, at least for the lawnmowing aspects of their employ. Indeed, given that the Evolution’s lithium ion batteries last two years or more, it might be the ideal supplement to a human gardener.
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