There’s no denying now that an iRobot robot lawn mower is in the works. The latest piece of evidence, a pending trademark application that the Bedford, Mass.-based Roomba maker filed back on April 16, 2014, certainly confirms the rumors that have been swirling for years.
iRobot has filed a trademark application for “Terra,” saying that it will be used for “robotic lawnmowers; structural and replacement parts and fittings for robotic lawnmowers.” The word “Terra” is Latin for “earth” or “land.”
The trademark application was published for opposition on June 14, 2016, giving other parties 30 days to oppose or file against the trademark. iRobot issued the following statement when Robotics Trends reached out for comment:
“iRobot is constantly working to develop new practical robotic solutions that are designed to improve people’s lives, both inside and outside of the home. While the company is exploring the lawn mowing category, it is company policy not to discuss further specifics at this time.”
Terra logo filed with iRobot’s trademark application.
In August 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted a waiver to iRobot that would allow a robot lawn mower to wirelessly map your lawn using stakes in the ground to determine where the yard ends. The company argued this wireless method is much more convenient than having to install stakes and run wire to each one, as is required by current robot lawn mowers on the market. And iRobot is correct, the time-consuming set-up is one of the reasons robot lawn mowers have yet to take off in the United States.
But some feared iRobot’s wireless mapping technique would interfere with the communication of other devices. The FCC disagreed, however, and authorized iRobot’s request because it did not “frustrate” the FCC’s Section 15.250(c) rule and “will enable iRobot to market its robotic lawn mower without posing a significant risk of harmful interference to authorized users of the radio spectrum.”
iRobot has said the robot lawn mower market is roughly a $4.6 billion market. An iRobot robot lawn mower is most likely still a long ways off, but the Roomba wasn’t an overnight sensation either. The Roomba 980, iRobot’s latest robot vacuum, was introduced 13 years after the first Roomba hit the market in 2002.