We have dug up more about the first autonomous lawn mower from Roomba maker iRobot

In January, Roomba maker iRobot announced its next autonomous job: a lawn mower named Terra. Autonomous lawn mowers are not exactly new, but Terra is different. Unlike most robotic mowers, it uses wireless beacons to understand what your garden looks like instead of relying on a long, cumbersome wire that runs around the edges of your lawn.


We recently heard that the Terra was in beta. Now iRobot tells The edge that the beta "is progressing well", and he expects to sell the Terra in the US in 2020. (iRobot would not reveal the price.) After reviewing the registrations of the Federal Communications Commission and some articles supporting Terra on the iRobot website and fact-checking a few things with iRobot, it is easier to understand how it could work.

Please note that these details may not be final. The user's guide and supporting articles that we have dug up can be placeholders, or perhaps just before the beta.

  • Those beacons may be an apparently simple way to define a garden for the Terra, but they can be more complex than they seem. a support article says the Terra must be "always" within the range of three beacons, and says another article the number of beacons required "depends on the complexity of the garden." iRobot does not mean how many beacons are needed for an average lawn.
  • Unlike some other robotic mowers, says the Terra user manual the Terra and its beacons must be installed by a professional so that the robot can properly mow your garden. However, this no longer costs at the launch; iRobot says it will initially take care of installation and a training session for customers.
  • Some Terra models have a Bluetooth remote control that allows users to control the robot with two blades, iRobot confirms. The FCC archives show that the remote control connects via Bluetooth, and TechCrunch says you can store it in the top of the robot, next to the other controls. The FCC archives indicate the likely location for the remote control and a switch that puts the lawn mower in "Remote control" mode.

A page from the Terra user manual.
Image: FCC

  • After the Terra has finished mowing, says the user manual it will return to a charging base. iRobot tells The edge the base station is connected to a standard wall socket. It also returns when the battery is low and continues to mow where it was after the battery was recharged.
  • The Terra mysteriously has two different battery powers for the same battery, according to a photo: 98 watt-hour or 92 watt-hour (although the last rating has an asterisk). iRobot does not comment on the actual assessment.

The battery of the Terra.
Image: FCC

  • The user manual says that the beacons use standard AA batteries and that they must be replaced once a year.
  • In January, iRobot said the Terra should work in & # 39; bad weather & # 39; and such label seems to support that with an "IP55" printed on it, probably an IP55 protection class. This means the Terra must be protected against most debris and low pressure water jets – so it will probably work even when it rains. iRobot would not confirm the IP55 rating.
  • If you have cold winters, do not keep the Terra outside. IRobot recommends in a support article bring the robot and its beacons inside for the winter.

The Terra label.
Image: FCC

  • If someone steals the Terra from your garden, you will probably be happy to know that they cannot do anything with it. iRobot confirms something that we have noticed in a support article: The Terra has anti-theft protection software that makes it "unusable" if it is placed in a garden for which it has not been identified.
  • Unfortunately it seems that you cannot see a live tracker of the Terra mow in the iRobot Home app, per a support article. I would have enjoyed it a lot.

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