Honda Miimo robotic mower will be commercially available
If you own a large piece of land which requires lawn mowing maintenance, you’ll be happy with news that Honda decided to enter the robotic lawn mower market with Honda Miimo – their first commercial robotic product for domestic use. Although it represents Honda’s first step towards providing customers with robotic solutions that could improve their quality of living, its price could represent a setback when it comes to its sales.
Unlike other traditional and robotic lawn mowers, Honda Miimo relies on continuous maintenance of the greens where it cuts grass only by 2mm to 3mm and leaves the clippings onto the soil behind it as a natural fertilizer which improves the health and quality of the grass. Honda’s robotic mower can ascend slopes and adjust its speed when it runs into patches of thick or long grass, when it automatically reduces wheel speed and maintains blade speed in order to deal with tough areas effectively.
Honda Miimo features a fan, built-in to its blade holder, which creates airflow to effectively ‘suck’ the grass towards the blades. In order to cut grass, it uses three highly durable blades, which bend rather than shatter on impact with hard objects, thus eliminating the danger of pieces of broken blade being left on the lawn. Cutting height is adjustable between 2cm and 6cm.
It navigates the garden through an intelligent combination of controls, timers and real-time sensory feedback. Honda Miimo features three independent 360 degree ‘bump’ sensors, which detect a solid contact between it and any obstacle. If a bump sensor is activated, it will stop, turn and move away from the point of contact in a different direction.
Honda Miimo also features two ‘lift’ sensors which are triggered if Honda Miimo leaves the ground. If such an event occurs, the mower shuts down completely and sounds an alarm. Since it can be reactivated only when its owner inputs a unique PIN, this system enables increased safety regulations since it cannot be picked up whilst the blades are turning, and it doesn’t operate if someone tries to steal it.
It works within a boundary wire, installed under the ground or in the grass around the perimeter of the garden. Honda Miimo detects the electronic signal in the wire and stays within it, ensuring high levels of safety and accuracy. Powered by a high performance lithium-ion battery, it is self-charging, constantly monitoring its battery level and returning to its docking station when it needs to recharge.
The robotic mower operates in one of three modes. Random mode makes it navigate through garden without a fixed pattern, thus creating less stress on the grass, more healthy growth and reduced moss and weeds. In directional mode, it moves back and forth in a more uniform fashion to ensure a faster cut. The last available mode is named mixed mode, and it allows intervals of random and directional cutting.
Honda announced that Miimo robotic mower will be available in two models, 300 and 500, offering a maximum perimeter cut of 300m and 500m respectively. Honda Miimo 500 will mow up to a total lawn size of 3,000 square meters, around half the size of a typical football pitch, making it suitable for a wide variety of gardens.
Honda Miimo will be manufactured by Honda France Manufacturing in Orlean, and it will be available from Honda Authorized Dealers across Europe in early 2013 for prices ranging between $2,600 and $3,000, depending on options. While it may seem a lot for regular lazy people, it is competitive to other already established names in this niche.
They also plan to offer a service which comes along much more expensive robotic lawn mowers, and that their model for Honda Lawn & Garden Authorized Dealers. It will be sold as a full service package, where a dealer helps in installation of the system and its tinkering to suit particular needs of the client.
They install the docking station, which acts as the charging point and signal generator, and a boundary wire which defines the mowing area. Honda Miimo is then programmed to cut to a schedule convenient to the customer, via its inbuilt timer and calendar. At the end of the season, Honda Authorized Dealer collects it for winter maintenance.