You may have seen the announcement about “Mo”, the robotic lawn mower, on the KRA website. I saw it, and it aroused my curiosity, so I went over to Crosslands on Mo’s first day (August 24) to see how it was going. Mo turns out to be a Husqvarna Automower 450XH robotic electric lawn mower.

Mo’s assignment is to mow a large area of lawn between the pond and the nearest Crosslands cottages. It wasn’t hard to spot the black unit moving across the expanse of green. My first reaction was that Mo was smaller than I expected. According to the Husqvarna website, it is only 25 inches wide, with a cutting width of just 9.45 inches (significantly smaller than the average home mower).

Mo seemed very small in the context of the large lawn above the Crosslands pond.

Still, Mo can mow for hours on end. When its battery starts to run low, it heads back to its charging station (using a combination of GPS and a guide wire), gets charged up, and heads out again. So although it cuts only about 1/20 of an acre each hour, Husqvarna rates it as suitable for maintaining an area of up to 1.25 acres.

Mo is cute and self-managing. It recharges itself when its battery is low.

Mo is really quiet—so quiet that I couldn’t hear it at all, given noise of the gasoline-powered riding mowers working in the distance.

When I arrived, Mo was heading toward the pond. I knew that Mo’s territory was constrained by an underground electric guide wire (similar to an “electric fence” for pets), so I waited to see what would happen.

Uh oh. Mo is heading toward the pond.

And sure enough, when Mo approached the pond, it stopped, backed up a short distance, and headed off in another direction. Mo uses a random mowing pattern (like a Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner), so it doesn’t cut the grass in any fixed sequence. It also has obstacle-detection features, so it won’t run into trees, pets, or humans.

At the edge of its “territory”, Mo stopped, backed up, and headed out on a new path.

 I soon spotted Mo’s charging station, near a tree at the edge of the lawn area. A new outlet on a wooden post had been installed to power the charging station.

The charging station. Mo comes back and plugs in whenever its battery is low.

I am delighted to see Kendal-Crosslands testing this technology. Kudos to the Facilities Department for doing this!

I hope this approach proves suitable for adoption on a larger scale. More and larger robotic mowers like Mo would be one option. Another would be large electric riding mowers (which are now available on the market). Either option would eliminate the need for the noisy and gas-guzzling riding mowers that are used now. Either one would represent an important step toward eliminating fossil fuels at Kendal and Crosslands.