Robotic lawnmowers have struggled to have the same impact as their house-bound stablemates, the best robot vacuums.
The reason is simple; yards are big and keeping a lawn precisely trimmed without falling into a flowerbed or bumping up against deckchairs has proved tricky. Either the range isn't there, the object recognition isn't up to scratch or the cost is just too high (most models start at around $1,000, compared to less than $200 for a robot vacuum). That may change with the introduction of the Dreame Roboticmower A1.
Announced this week at IFA 2023 in Berlin, the robot still won't come cheap (pricing isn't finalized but could be as much as $2,000) but promises to be up to the task. It can handle yards up to half an acre in size and uses 3D LiDAR mapping to understand the layout of your garden.
Using LiDAR means there won't be any need to position beacons around your lawn or put guide wire in place to make sure it doesn't stray off-track. The Roboticmower has a detection distance of up to 70 meters (230 feet) and a 360°x59° omnidirectional super-large viewing angle. So, no matter how big your yard is, the lil' trimmer can create a 3D map of the garden in around 15 minutes.
Traditionally, building a map of your yard can be challenging for a lawn mowing robots, as they encounter complex outdoor environments. Think hedges or trees that shed their leaves or raised beds that need to be navigated around.
According to Dreame's own testing, the A1 was able to tackle a 1000 m² (10,764 sq ft) garden in just one day. That's a big win if you've got a large yard and need something that won't cut out halfway through. The company also says it's combined path-planning technology with a 3D sensing system to make sure the lawn mowing is uniform. Hopefully, that means you won't have to learn how to stripe your lawn because this robot will do it perfectly for you. We can but dreame.
Will the Roboticmower A1 be the robot lawnmower to break into the mainstream? It's hard to say. According to statistics from the American research institute Grand View Research, the penetration rate of intelligent lawn mowing robots in Europe is about 10%, while in North America it's less than 1%. If you're on the (garden) fence about whether or not to buy one for yourself, here are 5 reasons to buy and 5 reasons to skip a robot lawnmower.
Dreame hasn't announced a firm release date for the A1 yet, but says it will enter the European and North American markets early next year. Hopefully, just in time for spring when we'll all start cutting the lawn again.
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Jeff is UK Editor-in-Chief for Tom’s Guide looking after the day-to-day output of the site’s British contingent. Rising early and heading straight for the coffee machine, Jeff loves nothing more than dialling into the zeitgeist of the day’s tech news.
A tech journalist for over a decade, he’s travelled the world testing any gadget he can get his hands on. Jeff has a keen interest in fitness and wearables as well as the latest tablets and laptops. A lapsed gamer, he fondly remembers the days when problems were solved by taking out the cartridge and blowing away the dust.