Honda's Miimo robotic lawn mower heads stateside
Honda's Miimo robotic lawn mower has been trimming lawns in Europe for a couple of years, and now it's setting its autonomous mowing sights on yards in the US (with the exception of California). Honda will offer two Miimo models, the HRM 310 that can handle lawns up to 0.5 acres (0.2 ha), and the HRM 520 that tackles lawns up to 0.75 acres (0.3 ha).
The first robotic mower from Honda to be released in the US, the Miimo is a battery-powered mower that packs a microcomputer, timer and sensors so homeowners can set and forget. The timer can be set for day or night mowing, while the seasonal timer can customize cutting intervals based on the season – getting on the job more often in spring, for example.
Initial setup requires the installation of boundary wires to ensure the Miimo won't stray. These boundary wires can be installed either under or on top of the ground around the lawn perimeter and around obstacles such as trees or flowerbeds. And Honda will save you the hassle of tackling this task yourself by installing the wires for you.
Riding on high-traction wheels to handle slopes of up to 25 degrees, the mowers are fitted with pivoting steel blades that spin both clockwise and anti-clockwise to extend their working life. Honda says the Miimo is designed to not cut grass as short as traditional lawn mowers, but to perform trims more regularly, with the tiny clippings it produces able to more easily disperse into the lawn root system to act as a natural fertilizer.
In addition to a choice of Random, Directional and Mixed cutting modes, there are two additional cutting options – Spiral will see Miimo concentrate on areas where the lawn may grow faster, and Edge will set the mower first mowing along the boundary wire before heading inwards on the chosen mowing pattern.
When a Miimo reaches a perimeter boundary, it can turn in a sweeping forward motion rather than having to back up. The time savings of this probably won't be huge, but Honda says this capability will cut overall mowing time. The autonomous mower will also come to a stop and turn to move off in another direction if it detects an obstacle, either with its onboard 360-degree sensors or through a collision with its floating cover.
Thieves attempting to steal the unit will also get a surprise, with an alarm sounding when the mower is lifted up while going about its business. In such an event, it will also turn itself off and can only be reactivated with the entry of a unique PIN code.
Both the 310 and the 520 models are the same dimensions, coming in at 25.5 in (65 cm) long, 21.7 in (55 cm) wide and 10.8 in (27 cm) high, but the 310 tips the scale at 25.6 lb (11.6 kg), while the 520 is slightly heavier at 26.2 lb (11.8 kg). The extra weight comes courtesy of the 520's 22.2V/3.6-Ah rechargeable battery, whereas the 310 is powered by a 22.2V/1.8-Ah unit.
The bigger battery gives the 520 a mowing time of up to an hour, while the 310 will go looking for its docking station to recharge after around 30 minutes. However, mowing times will obviously be affected by the shape and complexity of the grassed area as well as any slopes. Charge times are the same as the mowing times for each model when using a 120V outlet.
Both Miimo models will be available through select Honda Power Equipment dealers in the US (except California) from June, with the HRM 310 priced at US$2,499 and the HRM 520 going for $2,799.
The video below shows Miimo in action.