So I have just about everything in our home automated using Apple’s HomeKit technology. This includes blinds, thermostat, lights, door locks, garage doors, cameras and HomePod speakers to name a few. I have been doing home automation for a long time using Zigbee and Z-wave technologies but switched to the HomeKit structure for one simple reason…it’s soooo easy to integrate.
One area that I haven’t got automated was my yard work, yes the sprinklers are automated through HomeKit, but the mowing and snow blowing was missing. I’m a big fan of new tech and routinely follow companies and support via kickstarter when I feel they are a viable product.
The yard products, mainly the automated mowers, I had one big issue and that was how our yard is laid out. We have several asphalt drives including the ramp area to our hangar. The current robot mowers require a wire imbedded in the grass or just beneath it to set the perimeter of the mowing area. If you need to go from one section of yard to another crossing a piece of driveway you need to have a cut or crack in the driveway to insert the wire. The robot stays within the confines of the wired area and just does a random pattern mowing. This wasn’t going to work for our particular situation.
Now there are a few companies going one step further using GPS along with RTK to provide very accurate positioning. The mower receives satellite signals, the RTK antennae does as well along with another information stream that corrects for errors. The RTK then speaks to the mower and creates 1cm accuracy. This means that the mower works without the unground wire and is very accurate. You can direct exactly where you want the mower to cross a driveway or any other area. You can define Go and No-Go zones. You can also design how the mower mows, meaning its not a random pattern but stripes or diagonals like you would with a traditional mower.
So I backed a company called Mammotion and their Luba mower that has this tech. I should receive the mower in October if all goes as planned for use in next years mowing season here in Illinois. While doing the research for this product I was reached out to be another company and started following them closely. They are an New York company called Yarbo. They have a new view on the GPS RTK system and went modular. They have a tracked robot, no wheels, and have three attachments for the unit. A mower, leaf blower and a snow blower. I was instantly hooked on their tech for one reason main reason the snow blower. For those of you that live in an area where you get snow and have to remove it by yourself you know the thrill of an idea that a robot can handle this task.
So I back it this morning, backer number 39, for the 2-in-1 deal. That means Ill get the mower and snow blower. The snow blower should arrive in December if all goes well and Ill get to test it out in our driveway. If it works as it has in their shared videos I will be buying one or two more for our hanger area.
One other option they have is a remote control, similar to a gaming console, to operate it manually. They also have a tow bar connection that will be available. Why is they interesting to me, well glad you asked, as I will build an attachment that will fit my RV-8 tailwheel and use this as aircraft tug as well!
Here is a link to the company and one to one of the snow blower in action.