The recent CES trade show in Las Vegas had many great technology products on display. What was also interesting is that several of the show standouts were in the robot mower category.
This fast-growing area of consumer tech is seeing many new companies entering the space and pushing the boundaries of what a robot mower can do.
One of the new mowers on display this year was the LawnMeister by Heisenberg Robotics. This new mower is more than just another entry into the robot mower space. The LawnMeister H1 promises to do more than just mow grass and has several tricks up its sleeve to impress customers.
Below, we’ll go over this new mower and learn if the finished product lives up to all the hype.
Who is Heisenberg Robotics?
Heisenberg Robotics is a Chinese-based technology company. While this is their first robot mower, they are no strangers to robotics and automation.
Heisenberg has been building robot automation equipment for factories and manufacturing facilities for some time now. Despite robotics being somewhat new in the landscaping industry, factories and other large facilities have been using similar technology for years.
In fact, many automated vehicles found in factories around the world share a lot of similarities with robot mowers. Things like in-ground wire guidance systems, obstacle avoidance, and other technologies are common on factory floor robots.
Heisenberg decided to go the Kickstarter route to fund and build their robot mower. Raising almost $2.5 million to this day, it was clearly a successful campaign and full production is now underway.
LawnMeister machines are set to start shipping in August of 2023.
Why The LawnMeister Stands Out
The first thing that came to mind when watching the LawnMeister at CES was that this machine is like the Swiss Army Knife of robot mowers.
The LawnMeister’s most talked about feature is the fact that it doesn’t just mow. This mower also edges, has a built-in blower to clear leaves, and even dispenses fertilizer if needed.
To our knowledge, no other home robot mower on the market combines all of these functions into one unit.
It is important to note that these additional features are modular. So they are not all included with the base model. Instead, users can add these individually or buy the complete system. We think this is a good alternative and sets nice price points.
Including all of these features by default would have likely priced many people out of the mower, especially if they didn’t need those features.
Built-in Edge Trimmer
One problem with robot mowers is that many models have issues with grass near walls or fences. Some claim to have edge-to-edge cutting but often there is a line of uncut grass near walls or other structures after the mower is finished.
The built-in trimmer on the LawnMeister extends from the side of the mower and cuts right up the edge. We assume this feature alone will sell a lot of units as many homeowners complain about having to clean up the edges of their lawns after their robot mower finishes.
On the opposite side of the mower is the leaf blower attachment, and it’s exactly what it sounds like.
It’s a fan built into the module and powered by the mower’s electric motor. The fan then blows air out of the side, similar to a leaf blower.
We did notice the air speed coming from the blower is not on the level of a normal leaf blower. So this will work mostly on smaller leaves or debris on the lawn, as well as to distribute clippings.
Overall, we found this module less useful than the edge trimmer, but it’s an interesting attachment and it’s also optional, which we like to see. It would be nice if future versions could be made more powerful for handling heavier leaves.
This one really took us by surprise and it’s a modular fertilizer sprayer that can attach to the front of the mower. It has a little tank to hold the fertilizer or lawn product of your choice.
The onboard cameras can then detect spots in your lawn that are discolored, for example, those dreaded pet spots. It then sprays the fertilizer over those patches as needed.
For owners who deal with pet spots and choose to apply pet patch sprays, this may be a great idea and well worth the money. For one or two patches it may not be worth it, but for larger lawns with numerous areas like that, this could be a real time-saver.
If the edger and fertilizer sprayer weren’t already enough, there’s also a driveway sweeper that attaches to the rear of the unit.
This unit works like a mini street sweeper brush that clears small debris or stones from flat surfaces such as driveways. Although not as useful as the other attachments, for those with driveways near stone areas that get kicked up onto the surface, this may be a good solution to keep things tidy.
No Wire Necessary
We’ve reviewed many new wireless robot mowers that do away with the guidewire system. These have varying degrees of success and most rely on a mix of GPS, RTK (Real Time Kinematics), and antennae stations placed around the yard.
The LawnMeister is vision-based instead of mainly relying on GPS. It uses cameras and Heisenberg’s proprietary machine vision system called VSLAM technology. This system uses no signals or outside sources and relies on the cameras to find its way around and avoid obstacles.
Although guidewire systems still provide the most reliable pathing, vision-based systems like this will likely replace the current wireless tech that mostly incorporate GPS or RTK. It’s just far more flexible and adaptive.
The LawnMeister does use GPS/RTK to get a rough idea of the property, but it then uses the cameras to learn your exact property layout and all obstacles.
In testing, this hybrid approach worked well and avoided obstacles in real time. It also avoided them much more closely than some other systems which can sometimes leave a huge uncut border around items left on the lawn. The LawnMeister also didn’t have to stop to think when it came upon an obstacle. It simply steered around it without pause.
Another important note is this mower cuts in parallel lines, not a random pattern like many other robot mowers. We know this is a big issue with many homeowners who prefer nice straight lines.
Price: $2599 – 5 Ah model
$2799 -10 Ah model/dual battery
- Cutting Time Per Charge – 120 minutes/240 minutes
- Coverage – .5 or 1 Acre depending on model
- Cutting Width – 7.9 Inches
- Cutting Height – 1.2 to 3.5 inches
- Max Incline – 58%
LawnMeister Overall Impressions
This mower really has two main selling points. The first is the modular design which allows you to add an edge trimmer, blower, fertilizer sprayer, sweeper, or all of them at once. It’s a unique approach and does increase the utility of this mower when used in the right situations.
Next is the guidance system which is wireless but relies much less on GPS/RTK and instead uses vision systems to fill in the gaps. In our demonstrations, this system seemed to be a step up in both ease of setup and operation compared to strictly GPS/RTK. But as with all wireless systems, your lawn’s layout and complexity will play a big part in how it performs.
Overall, this is a strong mower entry and pushes the boundaries of what we expect from a robot mower. It also comes from a company with experience in robotics and automation.
If this mower is something you’re interested in, you better hurry. They are currently selling out of the initial production run which looks to begin shipping later this summer.