A quick search on Amazon for a robotic lawn mower will net countless results, but will I buy one right now? The short answer is no. Continue reading for the long answer and why I’m leaning towards the ultimate robotic mulch and lawn mower from Airseekers. To understand why, we need to break down key components: vision, wheels, blades, and the AI brain powering the Airseekers.
Painful issues with modern-day robotic lawnmowers
One of the biggest issues I’ve experienced with other robotic lawnmowers is how the mower has to be set up with an antenna base station that requires a direct line of sight to satellites orbiting above our planet. It depends on the brand, so each implements different technologies, allowing the robotic lawn mower to track its position. This pain point is a showstopper for me. My yard isn’t massive, but it’s big enough, and the complications compound with any robotic mowers I’ve tested – it has to do with the thirty-three oak trees spanning across a corner lot.
AI and cameras together solve the unreliable navigation systems used by others
So, how has Yue Hu, the founder of Airseekers, solved this problem? By eliminating the need for an antenna altogether. The unit is truly autonomous to move about thanks to the 5-camera Air Vision. The navigation system consists of three panoramic lenses and dual depth-perception cameras.
The three panoramic cameras function similarly to how we use our eyes to see. The left and right cameras allow Airseekers to see both sides, similar to how we turn our heads left and right. The system as a whole works together in conjunction with the AI engine to determine the current position and identify obstacles, people, and pets, which it will automatically navigate to avoid hitting.
Moreover, the Air Vision system captures extensive visual data from various angles for precise, centimeter-level positioning. This reduces errors from weak satellite signals and continuously processes environmental data, even in areas with dense foliage or under eaves. Its stability is maintained on uneven terrain and is resilient to lens obstruction caused by dirt or camera movement.
My robotic vacuum cleaner remembers the precise location where it stopped cleaning when the battery runs low, runs back to the base to charge up and then resumes cleaning at the very spot it was in previously. That’s exactly what Airseekers is capable of, using the navigation system and countless images that it takes and stores in the memory bank. Speaking of images, you can even submit pictures of you, your pet, and anyone else to the system via the app on your phone. This is a significant feature, in my opinion, due to theft prevention. If the system identifies a person it doesn’t recognize, it notifies you via the app and automatically shuts down and locks up. This same safety feature also kicks in when it’s removed from the invisible geofence you set up during your initial setup.
There’s also the option to use your cellular SIM card to track the positioning if you want peace of mind. Otherwise, if your wifi signal is strong enough, it should also do the job, according to Hu. Note that using your cellular sim card is only an option, not a requirement, since many of us don’t have an extra active sim card lying around.
The AI has been fed with countless images of everything that it could potentially encounter. So, circling back to the cameras, it can identify the edge of your yard, preventing itself from veering off course and slamming into the pavement. Hu assured me that there shouldn’t be any training required at all when you first use Airseekers, but if it makes you feel better, you can walk it around the edge of the yard, around trees and bushes once, and it’ll commit the pattern to memory.
Airseekers’ AI self-mapping technology streamlines lawn care by eliminating the need for perimeter wires, manual controls, and RTK base stations. Utilizing panoramic perception and Vslam technology, it generates a detailed 3D map of your yard. The intelligent app automatically defines lawn boundaries and cutting zones, simplifying mowing.
For added security measures, there’s a sensor or “bumper” located in the front to sense objects with which it comes in contact.
The Airseekers comes equipped with a motor powerful enough to allow it to climb hills up to a 65% slope and effortlessly traverse uneven terrain. This feature is essential for maintaining a lawn with varying elevation degrees. Its high-torque motors and the 30-degree inward design of its omnidirectional wheels facilitate smooth turns and confident movement in any terrain, so there’s no need to worry about the mower getting stuck – now I wish I could say the same for my robotic vacuum cleaner.
The Airseekers have a special feature called the FlowCut Mowing System. This system ensures your grass has neat edges. It does this by sucking the grass up straight, then cutting it inside a U-shaped chamber. This incredible Vacuum-Cut-Mulch system and double mowing power chops up the grass clippings into tiny pieces. These pieces then go into the ground and act as fertilizer. This process keeps your lawn looking tidy and also helps the soil by adding natural nutrients.
Other notable features include Automated Lawn Maintenance, Rainfall Auto-Detecting, and Real-Time Monitoring and alerts. The Automated Lawn Maintenance ensures your lawn is consistently taken care of, whereas the Rainfall Auto-Detecting feature prevents the mower from operating under unfavorable weather conditions. I wouldn’t say I like to mow the grass when it’s wet; I do it more to protect the grass blades. The Real-Time Monitoring and alerts inform you about the mower’s operational status.
Lastly, Hu shared with Yanko Design that in the next near final prototype, Airseekers should have a user-replaceable battery which is located in the bottom rear. For someone with a larger yard, being able to replace the battery immediately is priceless. However, if you’re like me and just too lazy and want the Airseekers to do all the work, it’s smart enough to know when to return to the base station and charge up before running out of juice. After sufficient charge, it resumes for another three hours of mowing away.
I’m impressed with the design elements and advanced technology, especially the custom-shaped blades that allow a clean cut. I can’t wait to have this impressive machine roaming my yard.
Designer: Airseekers Robotics