Mowing the lawn is one of those domestic chores you might wish you could complete with the wave of a magic wand. While we haven’t seen that wand available anywhere, the Roomba of lawnmowers is here to take over that dreaded mowing chore.
Called the Terra, this high-tech gardening tool is brought to you by iRobot—the company behind the Roomba robotic vacuum. Its first autonomous lawnmower, the Terra is a cut above the rest, using a radio technology based on “ultra-wide” bandwidths that guide the mower with the help of beacons situated around the lawn, serving to mark Terra’s perimeter. The robotic vacuum then makes a map of your yard, mowing in straight lines up and down the grass.
In an interview with the Associated Press, iRobot CEO Colin Angle revealed the Terra has been in the works for more than a decade.
“Honestly, this robot drove me insane,” said Angle. “It has been an obsession.”
Angle and his colleagues ultimately had something to show after fielding the question, “So, when are you going to mow my lawn?” since the company starting selling Roombas in 2002.
The electric-power Terra mower is a quiet machine much like the Roomba. It features a pair of tri-blade mulchers that move slowly over the lawn. Like the Roomba, Terra is meant to be used around a lawn daily or a few times a week as opposed to chopping back a week’s worth of grass at one time. The robot’s various sensors keep its eye on the prize and away from obstacles like toys and unexpected debris.
When it’s almost out of power, Terra returns to its station, recharging and then automatically finishing the job. When it’s done, it makes its way back to the dock. Users can schedule the machine with an app on their smartphone.
Rest assured, Terra will hit the market, but according to Forrester consumer technology analyst Frank Gillett, the cost has yet to be finalized. Currently, high-end robotic mowers cost more than $1,000. The Terra plans to go on sale in the U.S. in 2020.