iRobot is the biggest name in home robotics thanks to its Roomba line, a robotic army of indoor cleaning brushes that absorb dust and dirt on your floors. But what about the other huge flat surface that you own and constantly need to be serviced? The Roomba lawn mower is finally here: the iRobot Terra.
A Roomba lawnmower has been rumored for years. The company has Robomower patents dating back to 2008, and only in 2015 did the company apply to the FCC to make its outdoor beacon navigation system legal. The original Roomba was introduced in 2002, when iRobot largely had the home robotics market for itself. If you wait 17 years to go wild, iRobot is now jumping into a crowded field of competitors and talking to Robomow, Husqvarna's Automower line, Honda's Miimo and a number of Worx mowers.
] Many Roomba basics make the journey into nature. The Terra is still a battery-powered robot that spins around your property. It has all the usual self-docking features that allow it to park on the outdoor charger with low power consumption, and can pick up where it left off. It uses the same "home" app as the Roomba, so you can relax inside and still monitor the robot while working in the hot sun.
According to iRobot, Terra uses the same navigation technology "Imprint Smart Mapping" as the newer indoor Roombas. This means that the spiral navigation of older Roombas is dead, and the Terra will cut the lawn in beautiful, straight lines. The package includes beacons that are part of the navigation system. The iRobot press release contains few details, but with the huge antenna on the back of the robot, I suspect you're placing these beacons in the garden, and the bot uses them to triangulate its position. Assuming that it is the same system that iRobot introduced to the FCC in 2015, iRobot believes that "a typical residential pitch requires the placement of four to nine missions in the ground." Some other Robomower rely on burying a wire around the yard – a handful of beacons sounds a lot easier to install.
When it comes to physical barriers, Terra happily bumps into a fence or the side of your house. turn and continue, just like the indoor bots. To keep the robot outside the flower bed or in other unwanted locations without a physical barrier, you can mark in the app locked zones. There is also a small physical remote control.
According to iRobot, Terra will be launched in Germany for the first time. A beta test in the US will take place sometime in 2019. There is no prize yet, but the competition from Terra is between $ 1,000 and $ 3,000.