Maybe I need to re-evaluate the autonomous/robotic lawnmowers? It so happened that I found an interesting study by the Scandinavian Turfgrass and Environment Research Foundation (STERF) on this topic. The study found:
- Results from 2020 showed few significant differences in turfgrass quality, but many greenkeepers found the fairway mown with the robotic mower to be more consistent.
- The responses showed an overall positive attitude to robotic mowers, but many players asked about the implications of the new technology for the rules of the game. Good communication with players is therefore important before introducing robot mowers.
- Preliminary observations in the fairway trial in autumn 2020 showed significantly less Microdochium nivale and a tendency (P=0.07) for higher turf quality with robotic mowing in the fairway trial, but no advantage of robotic mowers in the semi-rough trial. The trials will continue in 2021 and 2022.
It is good to know where the development of robotic lawnmowers is heading to. Whether worth considering them in the next purchase. I would mention here Husqvarna CEORA robotic lawnmower that will be launched in 2022. It is Husqvarna’s next generation in large-scale robotic mowing.
Husqvarna’s robotic lawnmower is able to:
- Cover grass areas of up to 50 000 m2.
- Low noise & zero-emission (=no direct emissions during use.).
- The mowers feature super-smooth surfaces to reduce grass build-up and increase premium turf quality.
- Other benefits include labor management and the ability to overcome scarcity, cost and general management costs, and safety.
Stephen Ohlson, vice president of product development at GreenSight explained during Husqvarna’s Living City event in March:
- By combining GreenSight technology (using drone intelligence, soil sensors, thermal imaging) with Husqvarna Automower® at Meadow Club golf course in Fairfax, California, the club could reduce their CO2 emissions by 99.5%.
- If just 10% of all US golf courses adopted the GreenSight and Husqvarna solution, 79,000 MT CO2e would be reduced.
At this moment the autonomous/robotic lawn mowers are not a real threat for companies like John Deere, Toro, or Jacobsen. However, they should be reckoned with in the near future.
My Portuguese club manager friend told me that Pestana Beloura Golf was the “lab” of STIHL’s robotic mower for about 2 years. Turflinx (acquired by Toro) tested its solution in this Portuguese golf club too.
Global Robotic Lawn Mowers Market
Meanwhile, the global robotic lawn mowers market is expected to reach $1,5 billion by 2027 (growing at a CAGR of 12.4% over the period 2020-2027). Worth paying attention to these countries’ lawnmowers markets (forecast to grow at approximately 9-10% CAGR):