iMow, smart gardening of the future?

Now the weather's warming up no doubt you're starting to think about cutting your grass, or like us you might even have cut your grass already.  When I say us, that's the Royal us as in our household grass cutting is MOH's domain, and it's a serious job. Or it seems to be anyway.

It reminded me though of the demonstration on the press trip to Stihl and Viking in January, where we saw their robotic mower, iMow. Bright green in colour, we also learnt it's also bright by nature.

But first, why would you iMow?

Viking told us it was time saving, the lawn is always cut, it's good for the grass as it's cut from all sides, it's ergonomical, environmentally friendly, there's no grass to dispose of and could even be a status symbol.  It's a pretty nifty mover too.

If I'm honest I'm not convinced. I can see the advantages of it, but think the practicalities of retro-fitting the system into older-style houses could be tricky, but not impossible to do. I think that for some people, cutting the grass is a pastime, and not necessarily a chore. I suspect for many though it's a chore, but then the price point might dissuade some. And for those that are keen on their lawns, like their gadgets and have disposable income then they're likely to want stripes in their lawn, which the iMow can't deliver.

Take our garden for example, we don't have power outside, but that's fixable. We'd need somewhere to house it near the power source - that's slightly harder to resolve and we'd need to make some changes, but not impossible. It needs perimeter wires installed, so it knows where to stop mowing which is part of the installation so no problem there.

The big sticking point for my garden is that it wouldn't cut to the edge of our circles, as for safety reasons the blade doesn't reach to the edge of the plastic housing. So for it to work in our garden, we'd need to add hard edging to the edges of our circles, perhaps edging them with brick, so the mower could go to the edge of those and cut to the edge of the grass. So for us, it doesn't work, especially as we're part-way through adding edging already.  Clearly if we were just starting the edging project, and we were set on an iMow we'd plan accordingly.

I think it's more practical and actually more useful in new build houses or developments with communal gardens that need regular maintenance. The robotic mower could be trained and set to work, and it'll generate its own mowing schedule. I also think there's more developments to come in this area, and that's likely to bring the price down, and therefore make it much more attractive to people who consider mowing the grass a chore.

It is very clever though.  And, if you've delegated grass cutting to the iMow, then you'll need to find something else to do, perhaps these might help...

While the iMow is in charge of cutting the grass, you'll need to find something else to do

Some people even name theirs

You can set hours for when it can work, so it's not working while you want to enjoy your garden. It has an inbuilt rain sensor, so when it rains it heads back to its shelter - and that's to protect the grass, rather than the machine. It remembers how much it's done, so if it's sent back to its shelter either because of the weather, or because it's used its hours up that day, it goes back to where it left off when it's able to work again. And the battery charging is clever too, if it's behind in its workload the battery charges more quickly; if it's ahead of itself it charges at a more leisurely pace. 

And so it's easy to see why people treat them as pets, and give them names.

So, could you iMow?


*This is a collaborative post with Stihl and Viking whose factory I visited as part of the UK press trip, but as always all views and opinions are my own.  

PS: If traditional lawnmowers are more your thing, then my post about the Stihl lawnmowers might be for you, especially if you're considering buying a new one.