Honda introduces its newest robot, and it cuts your lawn for you
By Dave LeClair
August 24, 2012
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 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 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.