Robot ZTR?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Tinkerer, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. Tinkerer

    Tinkerer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 620

    Its gonna happen sooner or later. A zero turn rider that can be programmed to mow most of a lawn. With all of the amazing technology out there,, GPS, sonar, infer red, bump & stop arms, the amazing capacity of a very small computer and more and more. Just think of it, Its possible you could ride this ZTR the first time you mow each lawn and save the program for that lawn and input a name. As you are mowing that lawn the computer could track the mower via GPS, it could track its speed, the engines RPM, inclines and direction it is facing/going. Maybe its possible to just the first time you mow a lawn to ride on it "just one" full circle (whatever shape it is) of the open areas it could mow itself. Stop and get off and press go. You go and get the trimmer and do the trimming. Grab the blower and have it ready. If its a Bigger lawn stop and make a few calls on your cell phone or if you have another, jump on your other ZTR and mow the close areas. If you have just one ZTR then when its done with the open areas its stops and you get on to mow in the close areas around the trees, near the house, next to the central air blowing grass away from it. Then you blow with the blower and go to the next lawn. How much does each employee cost you in a year total? How reliable are they. Whats your employee turnover. I could go on and on with the complications of having employees. I know Toro has a little mowing robot for smaller lawns but I don't know if they still sell them. I think maybe they use perimeter censors put in the ground. But they sure don't cut fast or would be any help for a Commercial Lawn business. How much would this add to the cost of a ZTR $2k, $3k, $4k, $5k? With even less research and development could a kit be made as an add on to an existing ZTR using large servos for the controll arms like what large R.C. airplanes use? A large sum of cash would be needed to backup something like this. We landed on the moon 36 years ago. Robots paint and weld cars/trucks and more. GPS has been used as guidance systems on farm tractors for several years now. Every new car/truck on the road has a computer in it. You can buy a cell phone with 15 seconds of video capacity for I think a few hundred dollars. On a local radio talk show I have heard a lady call in about her neighbor who nearly has a robot mower perfected, but thats all I have heard about it, don't know who he is or any more info. I just gotta think this is possible before the end of my life (I'm 38). Would you buy one of these? How much more would you expect to pay for it?
    What ideas suggestions do you have.
  2. Tall Rider

    Tall Rider LawnSite Member
    Messages: 118

    Great all we need is more computers replacing humans! :angry: "Mower go and cut the grass while I sit on my fat butt drinking beer" -End Command-
  3. Tinkerer

    Tinkerer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 620

    I'm sure the guys with lots of employee problems would think of this one. A machine can't sue you for sexual harrassment. It won't have a hangover. Doesn't need a break to smoke a cigarette,, won't stare at a customers wife while she is in a bikini, won't peer into the customers garage to see what they can come back for at 2am. It won't ask for a day off to look for another job. I could go on and on and on.
  4. mbricker

    mbricker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 505

    I think you are probably on to something. But I can't see much possibility of getting this technology in the price range you are thinking--you speculate up to $5000 over the cost of a mower without the automation. How 'bout 20 grand over a cost of a conventional ZTR?

    But I'm thinking, is there a practical way that a robot mower will ever be able to make decisions we make a hundred times per lawn? For instance today I mow north to south near the drive, but next week when the Caddie is in the driveway, I will mow south to north. And the stick on the lawn is about the diameter of my little finger and only a foot long, so I mow over it. But the next stick, a little larger, I will lean over and pick up rather than mow it on the next pass. Or even: that is not a stick, that is a child's toy, so I will pick it up rather than mow over it. Or, there are quite a few leaves on the lawn today so I will hit them with the first pass blowing towards the uncut grass, so the leaves get fully mulched.

    You see what I mean? I'm gonna guess that if something like this hits the market, it is intended for extremely large and mostly open turf areas that do not need to be as manicured as the grass in front of a $300,000 home or a doctor's office.

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