Segway, a popular purveyor of electric scooters, mopeds, and other mobility products, has introduced its first lawnmower. A competitor to something like iRobot’s Terra, the Navimow is an autonomous robotic lawnmower that uses GPS to navigate gardens and yards.
Autonomous vacuum cleaners are nothing new for cleaning indoors, but outdoors are a bit trickier because of obstacles like mud or thick grass where a lawnmower can get stuck. The drivetrain on an autonomous lawnmower needs to more robust like your typical lawnmower, which has a human assist or a hefty motor, in the case of seated variants.
Lazy luxury — According to Segway, the Navimow is fitted with five safety sensors that enable it to detect and navigate obstacles, and its hub motor can power it up inclines of 45 percent. The high-end model features a 10.4-Ah battery that can cover a lawn of 32,300 square feet. That comes at a hefty price tag of about $3,000. The entry-level model with a smaller 5.2-Ah battery costs half that at $1,400.
In order to begin using the Navimow, owners draw a virtual boundary within its companion app, and the robotic mower uses onboard sensors including GPS to move around the lawn with precision. The Navimow automatically returns to its charging station when it’s finished with a job, or if it starts raining, in which case it will finish the job later.
Rise of the machine? — Pop culture has long made us fear the rise of the machine, that someday soon all these robots will become sentient and decide to eradicate the human race. Instead, we get a robot like the Navimow that can’t figure out the boundaries of a lawn on its own, and which could be felled by a patch of grass that’s too thick. Elon Musk’s own “prototype” of a Tesla humanoid robot introduced on stage recently was really just a guy wearing a suit.
At least the Navimow is IPX6 waterproof rated, so you can simply rinse it off when it gets dirty. But we’d have to see how well it performs before dropping at least $1,400. It’s not unheard of to see lawnmowers run for that much — and this one would do all the work for you — but outdoor environments are a different challenge than the indoor carpets that Roombas have been trained to tackle. No word yet on when it will ship.