Toro has announced the introduction of a robotic lawn mower for the residential market that will significantly reduce the time and sweat homeowners spend cutting grass.
Toro has autonomous lawn mowers for golf courses and commercial markets in development, but is introducing its first robotic mower for residential use.
To compete with residential robotic mowers already on the market. Toro says its self-driving mower is the first in space to use optical sensors. Some of the existing robot mowers on the market use GPS navigation or require a guide wire to be buried around the perimeter of the yard or obstacles that the mower uses for navigation.
The robot mower is a product of Toro’s Center for Technology, Research and Innovation (CTRI), which develops new technologies to improve the lives and businesses of its customers. Whether it’s saving time for owners or helping a contractor or golf course manage their day-to-day operations.
“There are a lot of different teams at Toro that come together to build this type of product,” Greg Janey, vice president of Toro’s residential and landscape contractor business and head of its CTRI, said in a statement. interview. “At the end of the day, this is really the foundation that we have to build in the future around different types of technologies around the battery, smart connected and autonomous technologies. This is specifically the start of a smart building site. “”
For many homeowners, mowing the lawn is a weekly or bi-weekly chore. But the robotic lawn mower can be programmed to work more often cutting less grass, which can create a healthier lawn by avoiding the stress of cutting too much grass at once.
By operating more frequently, the mower can produce an ever-ready lawn that some customers prefer. “When you think of an ever-ready lawn. It’s really about that fresh-cut, great-looking look every day,” Janey said.
On the other hand, some homeowners adopt the “No Mow May” philosophy which allows grasses to grow longer for the benefit of pollinators.
The proprietary vision system used by Toro’s robot mower uses multiple cameras for navigation and to map each lawn. A smartphone app can also create custom mowing schedules that can take weather forecasts into account and allow owners to manage the mower from anywhere. The app will also help with the initial setup of the mower and its cutting patterns.
Toro’s robotic mower is battery operated and quieter than gasoline mowers. The mower will have an auto-docking feature so it can recharge when it feels the need.
It is designed to run frequently and it will just run quietly in the background. Because it runs more frequently and cuts a little grass each time it uses a different blade design that runs at a lower RPM. The mower’s lower gears and shock sensors are built into its safety features. Toro says it comes with third-party security certification and anti-theft features.
Ideal for medium-sized lawns, dozens of competing residential robotic mowers are already on the market. Toro says this robot mower is best for lawns under an acre. The low profile and center of gravity means it can handle some sloping lawns.
Toro expects the robotic mower category to grow significantly as technology develops. According to an industry report by Mordor Intelligence, the residential robotic lawn mower market is expected to grow from $1.3 billion in 2020 to $3.5 billion by 2026.
Bloomington-based Toro had annual sales of $4 billion for its fiscal year ended Oct. 31, 2021, with 25% of its sales coming from its residential segment and the rest from its professional segment. Residential segment sales increased 23% over the prior year, driven by sales of residential zero-turn lawn mowers, snow blowers and Toro’s line of Flex Force battery-powered residential appliances 60V.
More details on pricing, mower specs and an official product name will come later in the year. Consumers looking to cut a summer chore off their to-do list will have to wait until spring 2023 for the new mower to officially launch. Pre-orders can be made this fall.