We got a tip over the weekend that Bosch is introducing (or, has just introduced) what a press release (machine translated from Swedish) calls the “world’s first intelligent robot lawn mower,” the Bosch Indego. Well, we’re not entirely sure about the world’s first bit, but from what we can tell, there are definitely some features here that will make the Indego more intelligent than some of its competitors.
We should preface all of this by saying that we’re relying on Google-translated press releases and websites, so it’s entirely possible that some of these details aren’t 100 percent correct, but it’s what we’ve got for now.
As I’m sure you know, or at least, as the Bosch press release says, “the Swedish summer is short and should be fully utilized.” The best way to go about doing this is to not spend all your time mowing the lawn, which is where the Indego comes on. It’s a completely autonomous robotic lawnmower that, after you set it up, will happily behead up to 1,000 square meters of grass without any supervision whatsoever.
What differentiates the Indego from other robotic mowers is how autonomous it is. Unfortunately, you do need to install a wire around the edges of your lawn to make sure that the Indego doesn’t mow its way out to the street where it could run over some cars or something, but beyond that, it appears to be mostly hands-off. The mower will autonomously avoid gravelly areas, trees, terraces, bends, shrubs, fishponds, sprinklers, lawn gnomes, lawn flamingos, lawn meerkats, lawn UFOs, lawn moai, lawn velociraptors, and lawn zombies, all of which are very important features to those of us who make our lifestyle choices based on Skymall catalogs. If it encounters a new obstacle (like that lawn sumo wrestler you’ve always wanted), it’ll remember the location to mow later, and then it’ll avoid the spot permanently if the obstacle shows up three times in a row.
Unlike most other robot mowers, the Indego can localize itself to some extent, allowing it to cut in a straight-line pattern instead of randomly. It’s akin to the difference between a Neato XV-11 and a Roomba. Some sources say that the Indego uses GPS for this, while the press release only mentions that the robot knows where it is “in relation to the charger,” which makes me think it’s more like a beacon system.
The Indego is battery powered and can mow for 20 minutes per charge, after which it heads back to its outdoor docking station to charge for 90 minutes. It then returns to resume cutting where it left off. This makes it much more efficient than a gas-powered mower, and it’s about ten times cheaper to operate, too. Oh, and it’s very quiet, and will mulch all the grass clippings for you.
From what we’ve been able to work out, the Bosch Indego is currently (or soon) available in a few places in Scandanavia for the equivalent of US $2,040ish, with a wider release planned for 2013.
[ Press Release ]
[ ToolWorld ]
Evan Ackerman is a senior editor at IEEE Spectrum. Since 2007, he has written over 6,000 articles on robotics and technology. He has a degree in Martian geology and is excellent at playing bagpipes.