Hands On: Worx Landroid Robotic Lawn Mower

Why mow your own lawn when you could get a robot slave to do it for you? That's the intriguing premise behind the Worx Landroid; an unmanned mowing vehicle that is smart enough to trim your lawn and return to its charging base unattended. We recently put the device through its paces and were pretty impressed with the results.

The Worx Landroid takes the concept of the robot vacuum cleaner and applies it outdoors. Instead of hoovering up dust, it cuts unruly grass down to a length of 2mm. This is achieved via a trio of revolving razor blades and an assortment of sensors that steer the Landroid's wheels in the right direction. The system is sophisticated enough to handle specific lawn areas (avoiding flower gardens or herb patches, for example) and will dutifully return to its charging base when its battery runs low.

Setting up the device is significantly more complex than a robot vacuum cleaner: before you can use the Landroid you need to map out a perimeter using the electrical wire supplied in the box. (You can also use the wire to highlight areas inside the boundary that you want to avoid.) Worx recommends burying the wire under the earth, but the supplied plastic pegs seemed to get the job done well enough — just be sure to keep the wire tight or the Landroid might get accidentally run over it, cutting the wire in the process.

Once the wire boundary is in place, things become a lot simpler. You basically just switch the Landroid on, select a preferred grass length and sit back while it gets to work. It took around an hour to cut my large lawn and the results were surprisingly good. There were no ugly tell-tale trails left in its wake and it managed to traverse the steep, uneven slopes in my backyard without issue.

Best of all, the electric motor is extremely quiet compared to a normal mower. You could even run this thing at night or early Sunday morning without disturbing the neighbours. The inbuilt scheduling system means you don't even have to be there to switch it on. Here's a quick clip of the Landroid in action:

There are a few caveats, however. The mower has navigational issues when it comes to fences: on multiple occasions our Landroid overshot its boundary and attempted to drive up a fence. This caused it to get confused and switch itself off.

Now normally this won't be much of an issue: you just lift it off the fence and switch it back on. However, we imagine it would be pretty frustrating if you left the mower to its own devices only to discover that hardly any of the lawn has been mowed. (i.e. — Despite being automated, you still need to keep an eye on it.)

Dog owners will also need to be mindful of the electrical wire: while they are unlikely to receive a serious shock, the temptation to dig up the wire could lead to frequent headaches. On the plus side, the mower itself is pretty safe: it knows when an object is in its path and will automatically switch off whenever its blades become exposed.

At $1119, the Worx Landroid is pretty expensive for something that's basically an unnecessary convenience. Still, if you're sick of cutting the lawn and are in the market for a new mower, we reckon it's definitely worth a look.

Score: 8/10


Comments

    Price, availability, catcher..? And what's with the really crappy video..?

    Last edited 27/11/14 5:00 pm

      The price is $1119. No catcher, unfortunately. (And yeah, not sure what happened with the video quality. I'll look into re-uploading it.)

    Are there any security features? What prevents some idiot from stealing it and putting it up on ebay?

      You can set up a security PIN on the control panel. Just like a regular mower, it's probably not a good idea to leave it in your front yard unattended.

        I know these things have been around a while and would be nice to talk to someone that has tested unmanned mowers. There is alot of inexpensive technology, safety, energy efficiency, etc that isn't being taken advantage of that I would like to talk to someone with their foot in the door already to really make these happen. Are you or do you know anyone that is making these?

          I would love to hear some of your ideas

          Last edited 29/07/16 8:40 am

    My Mate does something similar
    Www.mobot.com.au
    Its Australian made.

      The link seems to be dead. Do you have an updated link?

    If you miss a patch vacuuming you don't really notice, miss a patch mowing, different story. And no catcher, so you'll have to rake it up anyway.

    The idea behind the robotic mower is that it mulches the grass fine enough that you never have to rake or use a catcher. The fine pieces fertilise the ground keeping it green and lush all year.
    The Mobot is coded to its base station with a pin code rendering it useless if someone steals it.
    Check out www.mobot.com.au or youtube GETMOBOT.
    Ill be happy to answer any other questions if you have them.
    Cheers guys.

      Renders it useless for the thief but kinda useless for you without a mower as well. Chuck in an annoying alarm or something so they drop it when they leave the perimeter.

      And how fine are the fine pieces it mulched up? Your site mentions for people with hay fever but finely mulched dry grass and wind = hay fever.

      Last edited 28/11/14 5:26 pm

        An alarm would be a great idea.

        As for the hay fever the comment was made particularly more for those that hate mowing because of it.
        It's fine enough for it to replenish the ground and for you not to have to take it up afterwards.
        It's what I would call maintenance free lawn.

    I've always wanted a robot device with "large" off road wheels like a model monster truck, like this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lwOLZo8ThQ

    with a metal detector built in.

    It would trundle around the bush while I sat back at camp relaxing and it would locate all of the buried gold.

    In the full version of this fantasy it would then call in a robot digger to unearth the gold and bring it to me.

    So, based on my experience of actually owning a robotic lawnmower, I've decided that the technology won't be useful until the control technology is improved. At present the lawnmowers have three basic navigation mechanisms.
    1: They can detect a wire.
    2: They can detect long grass.
    3: They move in simple patterns.

    This is *not* sufficient navigational control to cut a lawn with worthwhile efficiency, it takes forever and misses areas.

    My robot vacuum cleaner can see the room and uses this information to build an internal model of my house. Until a la lawnmower can do the same (or alternatively use GPS/radiotracking), it's too stupid to mow my lawn.

    Incidentally, my experience has been that the 'no catcher' issue actually isn't an issue.

    Lastly, if you have kids, the navigational issue may not be a problem, give the lawnmower a name (mine is named 'Moe') and they'll be happy to play with it, leading it to patches it missed.

      I find it hard to imagine your current t unit detecting long grass. If so what is the mechanism doing this?

      They aren't for everyone that's been established however I haven't mowed my lawn for a year!

      There is still room for improvement and I would love to work with a great team to develop a GPS model!

      Really comes down to cost at the moment though.

    I have this robot in use for half a year now. (I'm from Europe, Winter is coming) We have quiet a big and winding yard. At first I was skeptical as well because of the "random" routes. But it's not completely random. They use an algorithm which directs the Landroid often in the corners. After half a year there are no areas where the grass is very high (I don't say it has exactly the same length everywhere.). Because it's running 10h a day, the pieces it cuts from the grass are really invisible.

    All in all it has saved us a lot of time, although we have to keep an eye on him always. Sometimes it just stops because the battery is empty before it reaches the charging station or because of barriers on the wire (which is used for the way back to the charging station).

    The security pin is asked every time you start the Landroid, that's usually only when it switches off after a problem. But I found a vulnerability: When I plug it in the charging station, it starts charging and when I switch it on then, the pin isn't asked.

    Here are some pictures of the yard right now, after half a year only mown by the Landroid
    http://pbrd.co/1uYGnUI
    http://pbrd.co/1uYGoYS

    If you saw my back yard i think youd agree for some its not a convenience, per se, the grass must be 3 feet tall at the moment because i only have 1 day a week i can get the mowing done, and so if i have too much on that day or its raining then it aint going to happen.

    Howver $1000+ thats a lot of money (although id presume Jims Mowing etc would charge >$50 to mow it, so it would pay for itself within in 20 mows, which is like 2-3 years of mows the frequency i do it.

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