The idea is that it is out there much of the time just cutting a small amount of the grass blades at a time. This will eventually reduce the thatch layer and is much easier on the grass than letting it get long then wacking half the plant away. It should also keep the weeds down. In the end I will have a healthier lawn.
The mower is kept in the yard through the use of a wire that carries a signal, similar to a dog fence. I buried most of the wire but that wasn't necessary. I could have just stapled it to the surface if I didn't have access to a cable laying machine like this one:
A number of safety and security features are built into the unit that prevent it from leaving the property. If the loop signal goes down then the machine stops. If someone lifts the machine an alarm goes off and if it leaves the property I can track it with gps. The gps can also be used by the mower to determine if it has covered all areas of the yard, and if not then it will mow in those areas. Pretty smart for a lawn mower.
There are a lot of advanced features on this model like slope control, spiral cutting and a weather timer feature that cuts back on mowing when it determines the grass is slowing down, to name a few. One feature they don't mention in the owners manual is that this thing is curious. Every time I go check up on one at a job site it comes over and gets under my feet. Actually its kinda a dick. If there is a trouble spot on the lawn it seems to know it and drive right over to sniff it out. At home last night I grabbed a beer and a chair to watch it work the lawn. Sure as shit the first thing it did was try to get me. When it hit the boundary wire I laid around a downspout it found another way around.
There are three razor blades under this things that can fold away when they hit something. I wasn't too worried about my shoe but you wouldn't want to stick your hand under there while the machine is running. If you were to pick it up the blades would stop spinning right away.
Initially my plan was to connect the front and back yards through a passage behind my garage. The problem is that I have no rain gutter on the back side and there is a rut formed that the mower would have likely been stuck in and certainly made a mess when wet. See, the automower will mow in the rain no problem and we have many units out there doing the 24/7 routine. As an installer I wanted to try a few different things to witness for myself how the machine would respond. One of those things was to create a passage across my drive:
The three grooves each hold a wire. The two outside wires are boundary wires and the center one is a guide wire. The guide wire is used for quickly finding its way to the charging station but can also be used to send the mower out to specific areas to start mowing. In my setup I have a guide wire in the back yard and the machine cuts back there 55% of the time. The front and two sides have there own guide wire and the machine exits the wire in three different spots, 15% of the time each. Its still too early to know if those percentages will need tweaking.
Thats enough infomercial for now. I'll keep you posted on the mowers progress. BTW, we still didn't name it. Hell we can't even decide on its gender. My wife says its like a hard working woman. I said what? Its slow and random. Maybe it is a male.