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A robot that will perform all the cooking and cleaning chores around the house might still be a long way off, but small robots that perform specific tasks are already a reality. The newest robot developed in Israel takes the job of mowing the lawn out of our hands completely saving us time and money.

The RL1000 with its docking station

For some people mowing the lawn is a good excuse to get some outdoor exercise, for others it's a nuisance at best and a never ending source of money wasted and time spent. Robotic lawn mowers have been in existence for more then a decade now and their prices have gradually gone down as several companies around the world are currently manufacturing and selling different kinds of robotic lawn mowers.

The Israeli company, Friendly Robotics, was founded ten years ago when the founder realized he hated to mow his lawn and decided to solve the problem by inventing a robot that will replace him at the task. The first robot was large, worked on petroleum and had an external bag to collect the excess lawn. Since then the company has developed a line of more sophisticated robots that use electric batteries and are smaller, more efficient and cheaper to maintain. In the last few years there has also been a reduction in the cost of the hardware making it more affordable for the general public as well as implementing many important safety features.

The RL500 model and the Friendly Vac

Friendly Robotics most recent lawn mower robot, the Robomow RL1000, achieved new standards in autonomous operation. The RL1000 comes with a Docking Station to which the robot returns to charge its batteries after each mowing session. The operator needs only to schedule the weekly program, and the RL1000 will depart at the times scheduled and will automatically return to the Docking Station to recharge and get ready for the next scheduled operation. The only work the operator has to perform is a one time installation of a cable around the perimeter of the garden, a cable which tells the robot where to stop mowing the lawn. The cable itself can even be buried in the ground thus making it completely invisible. The RL1000 has sensors which allows it to bypass obstacles on the lawn although the company recommends to clear the area before the Robomow begins its operation, and for this purpose the RL1000 is equipped with a small alarm that informs the owner that the Robomow is about to start its operation in five minutes. The Robomow cuts the lawn to a fine powder which in turn it disperses as a fertilizer back onto the soil.

The RL1000 is the newest and strongest of the company's line of robotic lawn mowers. According to the Friendly Robotics, it can mow up to 1500 square meters of lawn (16,000 square feet) with only 3 charges (around 500 square meters per charge). Weighing a hefty 35 kilograms and having the equivalent mowing power of a 5.5 HP lawn mower, the RL1000 is not a toy. In fact, the Robomow incorporates several safety features including Child Guard, preventing children from operating the Robomow, a Lift Sensor which stops rotating the blades immediately when Robomow is lifted and an Over-Current Monitoring Protection preventing the Robomow from over-heating. The RL1000 also has an anti-theft security code built into it in case your neighbor decides to use your robot to cut his own lawn.

Friendly Robotics has also developed a vacuum cleaner robot under the name of Friendly Vac, which can move around the house, avoid obstacles and clean the floor.

Iddo Genuth

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