Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Honda introduces its newest robot, and it cuts your lawn for you

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August 24, 2012

The Honda Miimo has a low-profile, sleek design

The Honda Miimo has a low-profile, sleek design

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Is mowing the lawn one of those household chores that you absolutely dread? Well, Honda is offering a new product in Europe designed to make it so you never have to walk behind a lawn mower again. The Honda Miimo is Honda’s entry into the growing robotic lawn mower market.

Honda’s announcement comes hot on the heels of Bosch showing off its Indego mower. The Auto-Mower, Robby Garden XP, Evolution, and Robomow are some of the other examples of robotic lawn mowers to emerge in recent years. It is clear that this industry is growing at an exponential rate, and Honda is making sure to throw its name into the hat.

The Miimo uses what Honda calls a “ continuous cutting” system that cuts about three millimeters of grass at a time. All cutting happens in varied patterns, which is designed to put less stress on the grass and keep your lawn healthier. You can choose between three cutting modes. Random mode sees the mower navigate your lawn with no particular pattern. Directional mode sees the mower moving back and forth in a more logical pattern. The third option, called mixed mode, switches between random and directional.

The Honda Miimo hanging with with Honda's other robot, ASIMO
The Honda Miimo hanging with with Honda's other robot, ASIMO

The Miimo is also designed to cut the clippings extra fine, so there is no need to bag the grass that it cuts. This is supposed to help improve your lawn by having the clippings break down quickly and act a natural fertilizer. Because this is a mower designed to work with minimal human interaction, having to go outside and collect bags of grass would diminish that a great deal.

According to Honda, the Miimo “navigates the garden through an intelligent combination of controls, timers and real-time sensory feedback.” It knows the limits of your yard with a boundary wire that is installed either underground or in the grass. The wire sends an electronic signal to the Miimo and tells it to stay within that area. I am sure your neighbors would love a free lawn mowing from your robot, but I think most people would prefer to keep their mower working on their own yard.

The Miimo is equipped with a lithium-ion battery. It is aware of its battery levels and it will return to its docking station when it has a low battery.

The Honda Miimo is like a Roomba for your grass

The cutting height is adjustable between 20 and 60 mm (0.8 and 2.4 inches), depending on the time of year and needs of your lawn. During the hot parts of the summer, it is generally wise to leave the grass a little on the longer side to help prevent the lawn from burning.

The Miimo has a couple of unique features that Honda hopes will help it stand above the competition. The first of these is the fan that resides above the blades. This helps suck grass towards the blades and should offer a cleaner cut. Additionally, the mower's three blades are flexible, designed to bend on impact with a hard object instead of breaking.

The Miimo will hit the market in early 2013 in two different models. The first model, known as the 300, offers a 300-meter (984-foot) perimeter cut. The 500 brings a 500-meter (1,640-foot) perimeter cutting area to the table. As a point of reference, Honda cites that the 500 can cut an area equal to approximately half of a football (soccer) field.

Source: Honda via IEEE Spectrum

About the Author
Dave LeClair Dave is an avid follower of all things mobile, gaming, and any kind of new technology he can get his hands on. Ever since he first played an NES as a child, he's been an absolute tech and gaming junkie.   All articles by Dave LeClair
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5 Comments

If you are going to build a robot lawn mower why not build one that can dump the clippings into the proper receptacle whether it is a trashcan, dumpster, compost heap, or anaerobic digester.

Pikeman
25th August, 2012 @ 12:57 am PDT

Wow - talk about late. I've had a lawnbot for half a decade already.

@Pikeman - there are no clippings whatsoever after these do your lawn - the grass is totally mulched into almost dust-sized bits, and literally vanish back into the garden

Their fan idea seems crazy though - when it encounters moist lawn, the buildup of "dust mulch" on the underside needs to be cleared away periodically... if they've stuck some kind of fan in there, it's going to clog up *really* fast. I suspect that's bogus PR hype though - these things have blade that spin at some crazy speed (5000 rpm I think), with the trailing edge slightly raised. It's the actual blades that act as the "fan", not some extra literal fan. The "flexible" blade sounds dubious - if it can flex, it's going to need replacing every few mows I'd guess. Normal blades are alloy (mine don't care even when it hits rocks, or has a brain fart and tries to mow the bricks bordering my garden).

christopher
26th August, 2012 @ 07:08 pm PDT

I agree with Christopher. I've got an RL1000, which is a model that has been out since 2004. Honda doesn't look like it has really brought anything to the table. Putting down perimeter wires are a pain. So is finding your lawn mower stuck on a stick or in a little divot.

I'll get excited when an automatic mower uses something like a kinect to find it's way around. Or has a foolproof drive system. Or has a WIFI module for error notification and theft protection... Obviously Honda's just a follower, not a leader.

Shishkabugs
27th August, 2012 @ 09:01 pm PDT

Please read the title

"Honda introduces its newest robot, and it cuts your lawn for you"

Where does it say "the first lawnbot in the world"?

It's a 2012 lawnbot, ur seriously comparing it to that old 2004 lawnbot from half a decade ago?...think there's no room for improvement in these 8 year?...what a laughing stock.

"Obviously Honda's just a follower, not a leader."

Sure, for the lawnbot, how about something else? Oh, or u just happen to only know that Honda is only known for a lawnbot.

Chan Boriratrit
29th August, 2012 @ 07:23 pm PDT

Splashed out on a Miimo last summer. Expensive and more trouble than it's worth. You have to patrol the garden regularly checking for sticks & stones - if I'm going to do that I could take a lawnmower with me while I'm at it. I often have to rescue the unit when it's got stuck in a corner and run out of charge (though that might be bad installation of the perimeter wire). This spring took the unit of the garage to resume its duties only to find the wire had been cut or had broken in more than three places and now has to be installed again - the mower is helpless without it. For an 'autonomous' unit this needs an enormous amount of intervention. I would have been better off with a 20th century gas-powered self-propelled number. A long way from being ready for market, I realise now to my cost.

Noghar
22nd March, 2014 @ 10:27 am PDT
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