Lawna, the Cyberpunk Autonomous Robot Lawnmower, Packs "Visual AI" to Ditch the Boundary Wires

Inspired by the visual styling of Blade Runner and Cyberpunk 2077, this smart lawnmower maps your yard visually for route planning.

Robotics and automation startup LawnaTech is aiming to bring a little artificial intelligence to your garden with its eponymous Lawna, a "smart cyber mower" that operates fully autonomously and without perimeter wires.

"Lawna is a fully automated mower robot. It is capable of setting virtual boundary lines, dividing work areas, and arranging optimal work schedules on its own using Visual AI," claims LawnaTech's Xiaowei Li. "It doesn't require buried perimeter wires like first gen autonomous mowers and doesn’t leave a mess behind like traditional push mowers. You don't even have to bend down to adjust the cutter height."

This smart autonomous lawnmower is designed to operate visually, doing away with buried boundary wires. (📹: LawnaTech)

That "Visual AI" is one of the Lawna's biggest selling points: using a computer vision system running on-device, the Lawna is claimed to be able to accurately measure and map a lawn — even if it's oddly-shaped, or has a pool or pond slap-bang in the middle. It can also find the edges of the lawn without boundary wires or pre-set limits.

Once mapping is complete, LawnaTech claims, the machine will automatically segment the yard into multiple zones and determine the most efficient working schedule — minimizing repeated travel over the same areas in order to avoid wasting time and cutting into the device's claimed two and a half hour battery life.

Other claimed features of the on-board AI include the ability to automatically determine the condition of the grass to find the best cutting modes, though the cut height is also manually adjustable using a linked smartphone app. The body of the robot is claimed to be fully waterproof, detecting rain and returning to its charging station to prevent damage to a sodden lawn, and offers the ability to climb terrain at angles of up to 30 degrees.

The camera system isn't the only device in Lawna's sensor array: the mower includes a moisture sensor for rainfall detection, ultrasonic distance sensors, and collision detection capabilities — automatically stopping and retracting its blades if it detects people or pets. There's an on-board GPS, designed primarily for anti-theft purposes rather than navigating your yard, and even doubles as an autonomous security robot — though, for obvious reasons, not one that will deploy its cutters against an intruder.

LanwaTech is currently funding production of the mower on Kickstarter, with prices starting at $699 for "Super Early Bird" backers — a substantial discount on a claimed $1,598 anticipated retail price. All hardware is expected to ship in January 2023, the company has confirmed.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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