BOULDER, Colo. — DENVER, Colo. (KMGH) -- A robotics company developed a more labor-friendly approach to yard care.
Jack Morrison, CEO of Scythe Robotics, a Colorado-based company, combined his previous software experience and frustration of cutting his own lawn to help launch a fleet of autonomous mowers.
"So, they're designed to mow large properties like this park here, or housing development, schools, office parks," he said.
The mowers are first driven around the edge of a property by a human. That allows the mower to get an outline of the area to be cut. Then, the machine knows how to divide that section into geometric shapes and gets to work.
"Once it has sort of a boundary map memorized, it knows how to lay down stripes at whatever angle the customer wants," Morrison said.
Each of the mowers is equipped with eight cameras, GPS antennas, and WiFi.
"Then if it encounters a tree in the middle of the area, it can detect that with the cameras, plan around it, do a nice circle around it, and keep going," Morrison said.
The machines are battery-powered and quieter than a traditional lawnmower.
A big part of their programming is safety in case the mower encounters a person in its path.
"You don't want to just do a circle around the human like you would a tree," Morrison said. "You want to come to a stop, make sure they exit your area safely, and then continue on the way."
That's because their goal is to be in the background and minimize a labor-intensive process so crews can focus on the finer details of a project.
"They get to take half their crew off of the mower and put them to work doing more creative, more interesting work around the properties," said Morrison. "From edging and trimming, to caring for flower beds and picking up trash."
The mowers are only available for commercial use now, but they hope to develop a personal line of mowers in the future.