Normally we don’t cover consumer robotics products, but Honda has sweetened the deal with these photos of ASIMO and, well, we’re suckers for the little guy. The Miimo (strange, you’d think they would have called them ASIMOwers) will hit the booming European robotic mower market sometime next year.
Available in two specifications, the Miimo 300 and 500 (for perimeters up to 300 and 500 meters respectively) will likely have different battery capacities but will otherwise be identical. It will roam a patch of earth, keeping within the boundaries you set with wires (which can be buried underground to maintain a clean appearance).
According to the press release, the mower is the first of its kind to use three durable blades which bend rather than shatter on impact with hard objects. That’s good, because you don’t want to have sharp metal left on your lawn where you least expect it. It cuts between 2~6 cm at a time by sucking the grass towards the blades with a fan, and moves in three different patterns depending on the size and type of lawn. Bump sensors will send it in the opposite direction of an impact, and it can handle slopes up to 24 degrees. And, in case you were wondering, it shuts off automatically when lifted off the ground and requires a unique PIN to activate, making non-hacker theft kind of pointless.
It even sort of looks like ASIMO, with the font and color scheme
No word on pricing, but a quick survey of competing brands suggest it will be priced between $1,200 and $5,000 USD. If the latter, that seems sort of pricey to me, but according to Honda the mowers are intended for people who don’t have the time and energy to do it themselves. That’s still a luxury where I come from, and the norm is to just hire someone else to do it for you. There is probably a tiny bit of maintenance to be done with the mower itself, but I must admit it sounds pretty convenient, if it works.