Honda’s robot lawnmower

OK, not a car as such, but it is still pretty cool.Honda’s first robotic lawnmower is so smart, it not only cuts the grass by itself, it also takes itself off to the docking station when it needs to recharge – a robotic version of a gardener taking a break for a cuppa.

The benefit to the grass of the Honda Miimo is that it cuts little and often, typically mowing just 2-3mm of grass at a time, several times each week. It can cut in either a programmable or random pattern and it doesn’t need to collect cuttings, as the clippings it creates are so small that they are dispersed to provide a natural fertiliser. It even has a fan to suck the grass towards the blade while it is cutting – almost like an electronic hairdresser.

The Miimo wanders around the lawn and a perimeter wire around the lawn signals it to turn around when it approaches a border. If it encounters long grass, the blades continue spinning as normal, but the wheels slow down, so it has more time for cutting. The blades themselves are flexible, to reduce the chance of shattering if they hit a rock.

It can handle a garden of up to 3000 square metres – that is about half the size of a football field, although anyone rich enough to have an even bigger lawn could have two, and create a sort of synchronized robotic gardening. In fact Miimo could turn mowing the lawn into a spectator sport – although it might perplex the dog.