The Gadgets Page

January 22, 2009

CES 2009: Husqvarna Automower

Filed under: Misc. Gadgets,Robots — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Husqvarna Automower: Lawn Mowing Robot by LauraMoncur from FlickrI’m alright with Roomba vacuuming my home. I don’t own one, but I wouldn’t fear it if I did. The Husqvarna Automower, however, isn’t something I’m comfortable handing over to a robot. I don’t want to explain why my lawn mower killed my neighbor’s cat. It’s just a conversation I’m not willing to have.

All joking aside, I AM tempted by it. The idea of being able to just set the lawnmower out on the lawn and letting it take care of the grass is very appealing. If the Roomba is any indication of how easy the Automower is going to be, however, I don’t think it will be very useful unless you arrange your yard so that it will never get stuck between the doghouse and the bushes.

Husqvarna Automower by LauraMoncur from Flickr

Unfortunately, the Automower isn’t quite ready for a set it and forget it person yet. After watching the demonstration, it was obvious that the Husqvarna Automower uses the same driving algorithm as the Roomba. This is fine for vacuuming up the floor, but for cutting the lawn, it’s just not an option. The lawn cutting would show the nearly random path that your Automower took.

When I was a child learning how to mow the lawn, my grandfather was VERY particular about how it should look. One week, we would cut the lawn horizontally. The next week, we cut the lawn vertically and the third week we cut the lawn diagonally. After that, we would go back to the beginning. Part of the reason we did that was to prevent grooves in the ground where the lawn mower wheels ran, but there was another thought at play in my grandpa’s mind. Cutting the lawn in these patterns was aesthetically pleasing. You could tell how we cut it for a day or so and it looked pretty. I especially liked the diagonal weeks and wondered why he would never let me do circles.

The pattern of cutting on the lawn left by the Automower, however, would be anything but aesthetically pleasing. Honestly, lawn mowing is ALL about making the home beautiful. If the Automower can’t do that, then you might as well use ForeverLawn and be done with it.


  1. Dear Laura,

    I am product manager for Automower in the US and wanted to clarify some of your statements. First, in regards to your comments about your neighbor’s cat, the mower has lift sensors, collision sensors, and a six inch blade to deck shell zone for safety. Also, the speed of the mower is such that this is really a non issue. Secondly, your statement about a lawn that will have numerous random mower tracks is, frankly, inaccurate. The mower is designed to mow everyday maintaining the lawn. It may stay out only an hour a day for a small lawn, or 24 hours a day for a large lawn returning itself to the charging station when needed. Regardless, with the “maintaining” principle in mind, you are cutting the grass as it grows so you never see these tracks you speak of. As a matter of fact, one of the most benefical aspects of the mower is the beauty of the lawn. Your lawn looks like a carpet, every day. The grass is never tall, never shaggy, always freshly mown.

    Automower has been on the market for 14 years now with tens of thousands of happy customers around the world. This would never have been possible with the mower you are describing.

    Comment by Gent Simmons — January 22, 2009 @ 3:22 pm

  2. I want one! I can just imagine all my neighbors gawking at it. LOL Seriously – I hate cutting the lawn, I think lawn maintenance is a guy thing or that gene is missing from my makeup. To me cutting my two acres is a drudgery and a horrid waste of valuable time I could be using to do something more worthwhile.

    Comment by Karen — June 6, 2009 @ 2:11 pm

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