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It seems like there is a new robot mower entering the market almost every few weeks. Big names like Husqvarna, Worx, or Ambrogio have been putting out great models for a while. But now, many smaller start-ups are entering the market and looking to gain market share.
One of these smaller start-ups is RoboUp and their latest mower that looks to use new technologies to do away with some of the sticking points common with current robot mowers.
RoboUp is also interesting in that it is being crowdfunded and potential customers need to purchase the mowers via their Kickstarter page.
Below, we’ll look at the new RoboUp mower and see how it stacks up to the growing competition in the robot mower market.
Who is RoboUp?
RoboUp is a Chinese-based startup company that is looking to use crowdfunding and Kickstarter to launch its newest product. RoboUp was formed fairly recently (2022), however, they do have the proper paperwork and have registered their business along with several patents here in the United States.
So, despite being small and primarily on Kickstarter, they are a legitimate company. However, being a crowdfunded company does entail a certain amount of risk for those looking to purchase these mowers.
According to RoboUp, they have closed the crowdfunding portion of their campaign and have finished the first small production run. The mowers are going through final inspections and are set to begin shipping in April of 2023.
The RoboUp Mower
So what exactly makes the RoboUp mower different?
RoboUp promises their mower is one of the easiest robot mowers to set up. For starters, there is no perimeter wire needed when using the RoboUp mower.
This is one of the common complaints people have when looking into a robot mower. Setting up a perimeter wire can be difficult and some people may not have the tools or inclination to do it properly.
The RoboUp mower uses a combination of RTK-GPS and IMU computer vision to eliminate the need for a perimeter wire.
According to RoboUp, setting up their mower only requires 4 steps.
- Unbox the mower and install the app
- Place the charging station in a suitable location on your lawn
- Connect the charging station to your wifi and pair the app
- Identify any no-zones within the app for the mower to avoid
After these steps, the mower is ready to begin mowing. So in reality and assuming you don’t hit any snags along the way, this process should take no more than 30 minutes.
A big part of RoboUp’s selling point is the use of RTK (real-time kinematic positioning) GPS technology. RTK works by using a correction stream to compensate for errors in the satellite positioning. By doing this, an RTK system can achieve an accuracy of 1 centimeter.
It’s this accuracy that allows the mower to operate without a perimeter wire while still being accurate enough to cut around edges.
This tech may seem new to robot mowers, but it’s commonly used in agricultural settings when large farm equipment is running in autonomous mode. So this is a technology that has already been used for a similar purpose.
However, if the RTK signal is low or unavailable, the mower can still use its onboard computer visions, which we’ll touch on next.
IMU Computer Vision
Another aspect of the RoboUp mower that helps it eliminate the use of a perimeter wire is the implementation of IMU computer vision.
We’ve seen this technology on other mowers like the high-end models for Ambrogio. The RoboUp uses ultrasonic sensing technology to work in conjunction with the RTK system.
Other budget-friendly mowers do use ultrasonic technology to spot obstacles, but some of the higher-end models now use cameras and advanced algorithms to detect objects in real-time, even moving objects.
So while we do like the RTK implementation here and it offers a nice alternative for ultra-precise mowing without a perimeter wire, we would like to see more advanced computer vision. Although, with the RTK system, there shouldn’t be much need for computer vision other than simple obstacle avoidance, which it seems to do just fine with.
RoboUp Mower Specifications
The RoboUp lineup consists of 2 mowers, the T1000 and the T2000. We’re not sure if that was a nod to the robot models from The Terminator movie franchise, but it’s an interesting idea.
The T2000 is basically the big brother of the T1000 and essentially just doubles the capacity and range.
The T1000 is rated for lawns up to 1000 meters squared, or about a 1/4 acre. The T2000 doubles the range and is good for lawns up to 1/2 acre.
The run time for the T1000 was approximately 60 minutes with a 60-minute charge time. The T2000 doubles that, with a 120-minute run time and a charge time of just under 2 hours.
- Price: $2499 MSRP (T1000)
- Price: $2999 MSRP (T2000)
- Cutting Height – Electronically adjustable 1.2 inches to 2.5 inches
- Cutting Width – 8 inches with free-floating cutting head.
- Battery – Lithium Ion 2.5 Ah – 18V
- Max Incline – 45 degrees
- Night Mowing
- Rain Detector stops mowing when moisture is detected
- Anti-theft system
- App control and onboard controls
RoboUp Mower Concerns
Overall, we really like the new technology being implemented by the RoboUp series of mowers. The incorporation of agricultural technology to provide precise cutting and eliminate the need for a perimeter wire is very welcomed.
There are a few areas we would like to see improved though. The first is the front wheels. The mower uses good-sized rear wheels, but the front wheels are essentially casters. This limits how well the mower can operate on uneven ground or rougher underlying surfaces. We would like to see larger front tires to accommodate more lawn types.
Next, it’s a little more expensive given its range of a 1/4 acre, at least for the T1000 model. Although, this is new technology and a small production run so we understand the price will be a little higher. But for the run-time and range, we would like to see a lower price point or an increase in range sometime in the future.
Next is spare part availability. Although robot mowers are generally maintenance-free, they do occasionally require spare parts like new blades or batteries.
RoboUp is offering a 3-year warranty, which is generous. But being a Kickstarter campaign, it means the company has to succeed for those spare parts to be around in the future.
Overall Impressions of RoboUp
To correctly judge this mower it has to be seen as a somewhat niche item, not just another robot mower. That means this is geared toward those who want to be early innovators and also like the idea of being a backer for Kickstarter-style startup companies.
We do like the RoboUp mower overall and the technology it brings to the table is exciting. However, this mower does have some risk involved, at least at the moment due to the nature of the startup.
With that being said, the company appears to be doing well and has reached its fundraising goals within days. Also, the first production run is nearly sold-out as of the time of this writing. So the excitement around this project is real and RoboUp looks to be off to a great start.
If you want to try something off the beaten path and be an early supporter of a new robotic product, the RobocUp mower fits the bill in a way not many other mowers can.
Price-wise, you will be paying a premium for that experience as offerings from Worx or Husqvarna are cheaper in the 1/4 acre range. But those alternatives do require perimeter wires.
That makes this a unique product and one that is hard to compare to similar offerings. But if you’re looking to be an early adopter of a new startup company, RoboUp fits the bill nicely.