Honda Motor Europe is entering the fast-growing European robotic lawn mower market with the introduction of Honda Miimo, its first commercial robotic product for domestic use. The electric Honda Miimo cuts little and often, typically mowing 2-3mm of grass at a time, several times each week.
|Miimo. Click to enlarge.|
It cuts in a random pattern, meaning less stress on the grass, more healthy growth and reduced moss and weeds. Unlike a traditional lawn mower it doesn’t need to collect cuttings, as the clippings it creates are so small that they are dispersed into the lawn root system, breaking down quickly to act as a natural fertilizer which improves the health and quality of the grass.
Honda Miimo navigates the garden through a combination of controls, timers and real-time sensory feedback. It works within a boundary wire, installed under the ground or in the grass around the perimeter of the garden. Honda Miimo detects the electronic signal in the wire and stays within it. Powered by a high performance, long-life lithium-ion battery, it is self-charging, constantly monitoring its battery level and returning to its docking station when it needs to recharge.
Uniquely, Honda Miimo features a fan, built-in to its blade holder, which creates airflow to effectively ‘suck’ the grass towards the blades. This is intended to provide a superior finish and a more consistent distribution of clippings back into the root system. Additionally, in a first in the market, it uses three highly durable blades, which bend rather than shatter on impact with hard objects, eliminating the danger of pieces of broken blade being left on the lawn. Cutting height is adjustable between 20mm and 60mm, to suit the conditions and time of year.
Honda Miimo operates using one of three modes: random, directional or mixed, to suit the size and type of garden. Random mode sees it navigate the lawn without a fixed pattern; in directional mode, it moves back and forth in a more uniform fashion to ensure a faster cut. Mixed mode allows intervals of random and directional cutting.
Honda Miimo features three independent 360 degree bump sensors, which detect a solid contact between it and any obstacle. If a bump sensor is activated, it will stop, turn and move away from the point of contact in a different direction.
Honda Miimo can ascend slopes up to 24 degrees, and when it encounters patches of thick or long grass it will automatically reduce wheel speed but maintain blade speed in order to deal with tough areas effectively.
Both safety and security are assured by two lift sensors which are triggered if Honda Miimo leaves the ground. On activation it shuts down completely, an alarm sounds, and it cannot be used until the owner inputs a unique PIN. In line with new European regulations this means that it cannot be picked up while the blades are turning, and it is rendered useless in the event of theft.
At launch, Honda Miimo will be available in two models, 300 and 500, offering a maximum perimeter cut of 300m and 500m respectively. Honda Miimo 500 will mow up to a total lawn size of 3,000 square meters, around half the size of a typical soccer field, making it suitable for a wide variety of gardens.
Honda Miimo will be manufactured by Honda France Manufacturing in Orlean. It will be available from Honda Authorized Dealers in the UK and Europe in early 2013.