Sunday, March 9, 2008

Zero-emisson robots to mow the back forty this summer

[x-posted on The 2 Dollar Bill]

There's nothing like the smell of fresh cut grass and small-engine exhaust in the heat of a summer afternoon.

But the mower you're using is likely a summer-emission monster. The EPA estimates the average push mower gives off as much pollution per hour as 11 automobiles, while commercial mowers emit the equivalent of 34 vehicles over the same period of time.

So wouldn't this mower (seen in Knight Rider colors) be sweet?

She's self-propelled. Solar-powered. Heck, it even trims the clippings to "small irregular patterns" to help fertilize the lawn. (Heck, mine does that. Without the small and irregular part though. And let's pause for a brief moment for a reality check here... Does a mower really clip? I think it applies a death-whack via a sharp whirling ninja blade. Think Mortal Kombat here. If grass could scream...)

Back to the story...

The Husqvarna Group is now pushing (or not) the mower which uses as much energy as a "standard" light bulb. (Ah yes... but is that a CFL or incandescent? I knew I could trip them up).

The Brits web site has this nifty model... but it's not the solar-hybrid dealy-whopper mentioned here. But even that is better than the American version we have available.

From the UK Telegraph:

While not the first robotic mower to go on sale in Britain, the Automower is the most environmentally friendly, claims Husqvarna.

Bengt Andersson, the company's chief executive, said: "This is as green as mowing gets, without compromising on performance. Ninety per cent of Automower is recyclable, it eliminates the need for fertilisers, it is silent and it delivers perfect results with zero emissions."
Dubbed the Automower, it comes close to doing just about everything except cook you breakfast. And for those mowing in the wrong part of town... or leaving the mower behind in the wrong part of town... not to worry.

From GizMag:

The Automower is also weather proof and features an in-built theft protection system that requires a personal 4-digit code to be entered before the unit will operate.

Husqvarna has been producing robotic lawnmowers since 1995 and around 50,000 of the quiet, emission-free garden robots are already in use.

Current price: somewhere on the order of $3,000 to $5,000 clams. Ouch. But could it be worth a week of your time that you'd otherwise be spending behind the mower?

And men, the Automower... was invented by a woman named Towe Ressman. (Cue the Tim Allen grunt).

For you think global / act local peeps, this could be the practical solution to pushing grandma's souped-up rotary blade model this summer. Me? I'm stuck putting the "man" into manual labor.

See you over the fence.