There are hundreds of tasks every homeowner must face, but two are especially monotonous and require constant work without any real reward - other than the satisfaction of knowing nothing changed. The first is vacuuming the floors and the second is mowing the lawn. Thankfully, we've had robot vacuum cleaners for a few years now and they've gotten to the point where it's almost like they are part of the family. On the other hand, we men still sweat in the yard pushing a mower around. Honda wants to fix that and give us some relief, so they are introducing Miimo in the US market this summer. We got a preview of their Miimo robot lawn mower last week and I think a lot of you are going to put it on your Father's Day wish lists this year!
Miimo has been on the market in Europe for a bit now, but this is the first time that Honda has introduced it in the US market. They will be launching with two models, HRM 310 and HRM 520. The HRM 310 weighs approximately 26 pounds and is capable of cutting up to half an acre, while the HRM 520 is designed for larger lawns of up to .75 acres due to it's larger battery.
The Miimo robotic mower will be sold through Honda's existing dealer network and that means they will includes initial setup of the boundary wire installation and placement of the base station. Unlike the robot vacuum in your house, Miimo needs to know where the boundaries are so it doesn't wander off. Installation should be very simple by simply laying a guide wire on the ground around the perimeter of the yard as well as any obstacles and then connecting that back to the base station. This wire can also be buried just below the surface to be more aesthetically pleasing. Once initiated, Miimo will use it's 360-degree sensors to explore the area within those boundaries and maintain your preferred grass level. Unlike your traditional "human" lawn mower, Miimo can operate at it's own pace and it may do so on a near constant basis to ensure an even lawn. Unlike you, it doesn't care if it is working 7 days a week and since it's electric, there is no loud engine noise to deal with either!
Miimo also comes with anti-theft protection that will sound an alarm and stop mowing if it is lifted off the ground. It will then only begin mowing again once the owner presses the unique anti-theft code.
During our preview, I was impressed that it seemed very safe. Not only did it not hurt when bumping into an obstacle - in my case my foot placed in front of it, but it also doesn't have what you might consider "lawn mower blades". On a traditional lawn mower, you have a fairly powerful engine with a long blade rotating very quickly. In contrast, Miimo moves very slowly and methodically powered by an electric motor and is much lighter than a traditional lawn mower too. Inside, there is a rotating blade that is also much smaller than what is found in it's gas-powered cousins. Don't worry though, since Miimo is constantly exploring your grass looking for pieces to cut, you don't need a huge blade to do the job. Honestly, if another company had told me this I might not believe them. Honda however already has decades of lawn mower experience in the traditional market so they know something about cutting grass well!
In fact, you can set Miimo to cut in three different modes: Random, Directional and Mixed. Even though most of us know that you shouldn't always follow the same pattern, most of us still do. However, as a robot mower, Miimo can be set to turn at wide angles or narrow angles or a combination of the two so that your grass gets the treatment it deserves. In all of the modes, the grass clippings will be extremely tiny and returned to the lawn as mulch acting as a natural fertilizer.
The Miimo HRM 310 will launch nationwide (except California) in June with a MSRP of $2,499 and the HRM 520 will launch with a MSRP of $2,799, you can find a local dealer by visiting Honda Power Equipment.
Clearly, robot servants like this are the future and I can't wait to see robot lawn mowers like Miimo to be the standard. Though, in a weird way I'll sort of miss the sound of Saturday in the suburbs and the roar of lawn mowers across the neighborhood.