iRobot today announced a new robotic lawn mower, the Terra robot mower. Featuring the latest mapping and navigation technologies, the Terra will be available for sale in Germany, and as a beta program for the U.S. in 2019, with specific availability and pricing announced later, iRobot said.
The Bedford, Mass.-based company said Terra can learn its environment through the company’s Imprint Smart Mapping technology, which “mows like people do, intelligently navigating a yard cutting efficiently in straight, back-and-forth lines.” The company said the mower remembers where it is in the yard, and areas where it still needs to cover. If the battery runs low, the mower can return to its base to recharge, and then resume mowing until the yard is complete.
Years in the making?
The Roomba maker appears to have been working on the Terra robot for years – in 2014 the company filed for a trademark application for the robot mower in 2014, with publication of the trademark in 2016.
iRobot enters a busy existing market for robot lawn mowers, with major vendors that include Husqvarna, MTD Products (Robomow), Robert Bosch, STIGA (Global Garden Products) and Zucchetti Centro Sistemi (ZCS), among others. A May 2018 report published by Arizton estimates the global lawn mower market will reach a $3 billion value in 2023, with a compound annual growth rate of more than 15% between 2017 and 2023.
Wireless beacons, no wires
iRobot said the Terra offers consumers an alternative to existing robotic lawn mowers by eliminating costly and labor-intensive boundary wires. With a newly developed wireless communication system, including stand-alone beacons, iRobot said users can place wireless beacons around their yard, drive the robot once around the perimeter, and then schedule Terra to mow. “Users have total control over where the robot goes and where it doesn’t go, so it will stay on the lawn and out of the flowers,” iRobot said.
Users can customize mowing features through the iRobot HOME app, adjusting things like the height of the grass, to controlling precisely when the lawn is cut, day or night. Ruggedized features help the robot to operate in inclement weather, and to navigate outdoor terrain.
“iRobot is building an ecosystem of robots and technologies that help people do more both inside and outside of the home,” said Colin Angle, CEO and chairman of iRobot. “The robot mower segment is well established in EMEA [Europe, the Middle East, and Africa] and has tremendous room for growth in other markets, including North America. With its ease of use and premium mowing features, Terra is poised to give consumers a whole new way to think about how they take care of their lawn.”
Consumers can track availability and progress on Terra at this iRobot website.