Robotics

Tank-like robot designed to autonomously tend gardens

Tank-like robot designed to au...
The Yardroid robot refills its water tank at a hose spigot equipped with a special "smart" valve
The Yardroid robot refills its water tank at a hose spigot equipped with a special "smart" valve
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Yardroid in bug-ki
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Yardroid in bug-killing action
Yardroid waters a plant
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Yardroid waters a plant
Yardroid blows leaves off of sidewalks and paths
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Yardroid blows leaves off of sidewalks and paths
Yardroid mows the lawn
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Yardroid mows the lawn
The Yardroid robot refills its water tank at a hose spigot equipped with a special "smart" valve
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The Yardroid robot refills its water tank at a hose spigot equipped with a special "smart" valve
Yardroid can patrol the user's property at night
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Yardroid can patrol the user's property at night
Yardroid can reportedly spot and spray weeds
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Yardroid can reportedly spot and spray weeds
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Gardening is very therapeutic for many people, but there are nonetheless some yard-related tasks that can be a hassle. The Yardroid robot was designed to autonomously handle those jobs, utilizing artificial intelligence.

Being developed by the same people who previously brought us the Rammaxx reusable LED "fireworks," Yardroid is not unlike a miniature tank. It rolls along on tracks, with water, herbicide and pesticide chambers in the back, lawn-mowing blades on the underside, and a gimbal-stabilized pivoting turret in the front.

That turret is in turn equipped with a video camera, LED spotlight, leaf blower, plus three separate nozzles that shoot streams of water, herbicide or pesticide.

Utilizing its onboard computer vision and artificial intelligence systems, Yardroid is reportedly capable of autonomously mowing lawns, following a route that it plans. No perimeter wires are necessary (as is the case with some other lawn-mowing robots), and the height of the cutting blades can be adjusted via an accompanying smartphone app.

Yardroid in bug-ki
Yardroid in bug-killing action

The robot is claimed to also be capable of spotting plants that are on its watering schedule, accordingly shooting streams of water at them. It is additionally said to identify weeds and pest insects on sight, responding by squirting them with herbicide or pesticide ... if the user is into that sort of thing. It can even "discourage" larger unwanted visitors such as raccoons, with squirts of water.

And yes, it blows leaves off of sidewalks. It can additionally patrol the property at night, sending smartphone alerts and emitting an audible warning if it spots an intruder. Yardroid also records video of the suspect, and will even spray them with water if they refuse to leave. Should they respond by simply stealing the robot, the owner can track its location via an onboard GPS unit.

When Yardroid starts getting low on water, it parks itself underneath the home's existing hose spigot, which is equipped with a special solar-powered valve. That valve proceeds to automatically refill the robot's 8-liter (2-US gal) water tank. Users refill the 1-liter (0.3 gal) herbicide and pesticide tanks manually. If they wish, they can also operate the bot itself manually, using the app.

Yardroid mows the lawn
Yardroid mows the lawn

Yardroid company CEO Dan Lubrich tells us that the product is already in fully functioning prototype form, and that the designers are currently in the process of collecting more data (such as photos of weeds and pests) to train its AI. He's planning to launch a crowdfunding campaign early next year, with a commercial rollout taking place around the middle of next year.

The retail price should be approximately US$2,500. Prospective buyers can register to receive updates via the source link below.

You can see the prototype in action, in the following video. And if you like the idea of a garden-tending robot, you might also want to check out the Tertill and GardenSpace units.

Source: Yardroid

Yardroid - Intelligent Landscaping Robot

View gallery - 7 images
9 comments
paul314
Batteries and charging? This machine seems extraordinarily undersized for all the jobs it claims to be able to do. (And a liter of water for all the thirsty plants in a garden...)
Spud Murphy
It doesn't look like it does any of those tasks particularly well. Given its price tag and the fact it will probably fail in a few years, you are better off hiring a gardener once a week or so.
piperTom
It's "tank like" because it has treads. Because it has treads, it will steer by powering one side while the other side stalls, and both sides will twist... thereby tearing up the soil underneath. Why build a lawn-care machine to tear up the lawn? Make the production model with four wheel drive and four wheel steering; then you might have something. ON to item #2: spraying weeds from a distance might LOOK cool, but it will invariably result in over-spray. Use much less spray pressure and move the sprayer very near the weed. Thus you use far less herbicide and kill only the one plant.
Username
Everything about this thing comes off as a joke.
WONKY KLERKY
H&S.
Please make production model site yellow / orange
and affix flashing beacon (at least for its std daytime duties)
BEFORE SOMEONE GOES BREAST OVER BOTTY OVER THE THING WHILST IT'S SCUTTLING ABOUT.
DaveWesely
As someone who has used a robotic lawn mower for almost 10 years, I would have to say the tracks are a definite improvement over wheels. The biggest problem for the robot is not getting stuck. Hopefully the treads don't come off while turning. My guess is treads would be easier on the grass than wheels, but they may need to be more robust. The perimeter wires are also a maintenance problem, so the switch to optical guidance is a huge benefit. Not only for keeping the robot within the perimeter, but also obstacle avoidance.
Nelson Hyde Chick
Of course this is the first generation, so the generations that follow will just get better and better and in no time we will not need gardeners. Isn't is great how technology gives one man the abilities of thousands while burdening the Earth with the thousands it just made obsolete.
János Simon
Then coming a bird, finds the bug and eats it, then the bird will eat ten more such dead bugs, soon the bird is dead.
J copley
Paul, I checked their website, they say the battery is 100Wh. That's about the same size as a cordless leaf blower. Those are pretty powerful and can run for a while. If it's not enough, I'd imagine they could just increase the battery size. This thing looks much heavier than a hand held leaf blower, so adding more batteries to it shouldn't be a problem.