Lawns are great, but mowing them is a bane of modern life. Husqvarna's range of Automowers hopes to relieve us of some of that drudgery.
For AU$1999, the new entry-level Automower 305 can eliminate those boring, wasted hours.
Knowing one's limits
Some 150m of guide wire is supplied with the Automower, which is laid down by the owner to mark the limits of the mowing area.
Dodge 'em car
The body shell can move independently of the rest of the unit, allowing it to absorb impacts. Once it runs into an object or one of its boundary markers, the Automower will back up a tad, turn at a random angle and then move forward. This, according to Husqvarna, eliminates visible mowing rows, and allows for full coverage of a lawn over time.
The 305 can handle up to 500 square metres of lawn, and handles inclines of around 25 per cent.
Cute and inspirational
The inspiration for the Husqvarna's automated mowers was apparently this little guy. Sheep, we're told, act as nature's lawn mowers, eating the top of grass blades. Cows, on the other hand, tend to yank clumps of grass out of the ground entirely.
There's no bag or other storage device for grass clippings. The idea is that after your lawn has been cut down to your desired height and the Automower begins maintaining the grass at that level, the clippings will be small in size, less obvious to the eye and act as a natural fertiliser for the rest of the lawn.
Sorry, kids; you can't ride the Automower.
If the mower's getting in the way of your time with the kids or dog, just hit the big red button.
Early morning wake up call
The Automower can be programmed to run whenever you want.
Cut it out
A simple knob allows the owner to set his or her preferred cutting height of between 2cm and 5cm.
Cut, cut, cut!
The mower's cutting blades can be flipped over when one side becomes blunt and, according to Husqvarna, are easily replaceable.
Depending on usage, the rear guiding wheel may need to be replaced every few years.
ET, phone home
Once the battery level is running low, the Automower 305 will find a way back to its base station. Recharging takes between 30 and 45 minutes, and the Lithium-ion battery pack lasts, depending on usage, between one and three years.
If the grass is long, the underside of the Automower can get a little dirty. They can, apparently, be cleaned by hand or water.
If you're fearful that your Automower will be taken by someone looking for a five fingered discount, fear not. The mower has a PIN code alarm system that emits an ear-piercing note if the unit is lifted off terra firma. According to Husqvarna, the alarm can run for over a day.
There are two other Automowers on sale in Australia. This is the mid-range 220AC that can manage lawns up to 1800m².
The 230ACX is the range-topping model in Australia, and can mow up to 3000m². Buyers overseas can not only choose from a greater variety of models, but also have an Automower that's (partially) solar powered.
Colour my world
Higher-end models, such as this 230 ACX, can be had with colourful body shells. They can also be controlled and monitored via smartphone apps and SMS.
In the doghouse
Despite all Automowers being waterproof, higher-end units have covered docking stations.
In the days before Husqvarna's press event, the Automower 305 was given this patch of Sydney's Centennial Park to mow. For the most part, it's cut to an even height.
This area was patrolled by the more expensive 230ACX. It looks more unkempt as it was only being worked on during the day of our visit.