Are Robotic Lawn Mowers Safe?

You’re standing in your front yard minding your own business when a robot with three razor sharp blades spinning at 5,800 rpm starts racing toward you. What do you do? 

Is this some kind of nightmare?  No, you’re awake and this is really happening, so once again, what do you do?

The answer is nothing.  It will just bounce off you and go another direction.  Rather anti-climatic ending wasn’t it?  That is just the way the robotic lawn mower companies want it to be.

The greatest concern most people have about robotic lawn mowers is safety.  ‘Bots with Blades’ just can’t be safe.  According to Ames Tiedeman, National Sales Manager for Systems Trading Corp., the US distributor for the Friendly Robotics Robomower, over 72,000 emergency room visits involved lawn mowers in 2005.  ZERO involved robotic lawn mowers.

These mowers have so many safety features and shut-off triggers that it is amazing that they are actually functional.  

The Friendly Robotics Robomower turns the blades off at 16 degrees, not even high enough to get a hand under.  Even if a small hand could get under, the blades are far back and recessed into a chamber in the body.  It would take creativity, not stupidity, to get to the blades while they are still turning.

Unlike push and riding lawn mower safety devices, robotic lawn mower features are not easily disabled.  The tilt detection devices are soldered on to the main boards.  Even the resistance against the blades and the ability of the software to stop them is measured in thousandths of seconds.

Since these robotic lawn mowers are designed to mulch there is no easy outlet for flying debris.  Pebbles and pine cones do not get tossed very far and at low velocity.

Some robotic lawn mowers have sonar detection systems that if any moving objects get close they’ll slow down and at another point stop the blade before even being touched.  All have some sort of touch sensors that when they lightly bump into a stationary object that they change direction.  So actually getting run over is unlikely.

Another big concern is pets getting chopped to bits, again, no reported accidents involving robotic lawn mowers.  Dogs have a tendency to chase and bark, but not attack.  A dog actually chewing up a robotic lawn mower is more feasible than a robotic lawn mower chewing up a dog.

Robotic lawn mowers move relatively slow, people and animals can easily move out of the way.  Although it takes a lot longer to mow, if everyone used them there would be 72,000 fewer hospital visits this year.  

This article was written to educate people that robotic mowers under intended circumstances are safe.  There has been a great deal of thought and engineering involved to make robotic lawn mowers safe for public use.

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