Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Robot Lawn Mower At UF Designed To Change Suburban Landscape

Date:
August 8, 1997
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
George Jetson, eat your heart out. A robot lawn mower called LawnNibbler, developed at the University of Florida's Machine Intelligence Laboratory, can cut your grass intelligently -- avoiding dogs, kids, trees and birdbaths -- while you're out on the golf course or taking the kids to soccer practice.

GAINESVILLE --- George Jetson, eat your heart out.

A robot lawn mower called LawnNibbler, developed at the University of Florida's Machine Intelligence Laboratory, can cut your grass intelligently -- avoiding dogs, kids, trees and birdbaths -- while you're out on the golf course or taking the kids to soccer practice.

"The LawnNibbler can provide a substitute for the majority of the work a person does caring for a lawn," said Kevin Hakala, the graduate student who designed and built LawnNibbler for his engineering master's thesis, written under the guidance of Professor Keith L. Doty, laboratory director. "It will trim the grass in a defined area while avoiding obstacles such as trees, children, toys or pets. It uses two smart systems: one to tell it where it is and another to tell it what to avoid."

Hakala said LawnNibbler promises to be the first low-cost and efficient robot lawn mower. It uses a radio wire buried at the perimeter of its work area and a navigational beacon system using sonar and infrared emitters and detectors to tell it where it is in its environment.

"LawnNibbler uses signals to treat the buried wire as an obstacle that it cannot cross," Hakala said. "It moves straight ahead until its sonar senses a beacon in its work environment or an obstacle."

Beacon or obstacle identified, LawnNibbler makes the appropriate turns and continues. Additionally, LawnNibbler can keep track of where it has already cut. LawnNibbler's navigation system scans its surroundings with sonar pulses. If a beacon in the yard "hears" the sonar, the beacon replies with an infrared light. The infrared light also provides LawnNibbler with its obstacle avoidance mechanism.

Just 24 inches high, 23 3/4 inches long, 12 3/4 inches wide and weighing 35 pounds, LawnNibbler uses a weed trimmer-like nylon cord that cuts a 6-inch swath.

Hakala said that the mower, driven by a rechargeable battery-powered electric motor and humming along at 1 foot per second, has the power to cover rough terrain and climb a 15-degree angle.

"Robots of the future are becoming today's reality," said Hakala, who described his LawnNibbler's beacon navigation system as "cheap and accurate." LawnNibbler, he added, is more intelligent and less expensive than earlier commercial models.

"Previous attempts at robot lawnmowers have been limited because of the absence of a navigation system," said Hakala. "Those robot lawnmowers only knew the boundary of their work area when they approached it. They did not have the intelligence to know where they were in their environment. Because of the beacon navigation system, LawnNibbler knows where it is."

Hakala added that the beacon systems used by his LawnNibbler are a stepping stone to a future where robots will be able to sense their environment as humans do, by using landmarks.

"LawnNibbler will likely have its market entry through industrial and commercial uses, mostly because of the safety issues," said Scott Jantz, a UF engineering graduate student who worked on the LawnNibbler with Hakala.

"Golf course care is an obvious application. LawnNibblers can go to work when no one is on the course. It could also be used in restricted industrial or military areas, or even in areas where foliage is contaminated and should not be touched by humans."

With the outdoors under robotic control, Jantz said, researchers are tackling another project to bring similar Jetson-esque technology to indoor tidying chores: "We're working on a vacuum cleaner."

-30-

Color or black & white photo available with this story. For information, please call News & Public Affairs photography at (352) 392-9092.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "Robot Lawn Mower At UF Designed To Change Suburban Landscape." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/08/970808125601.htm>.
University Of Florida. (1997, August 8). Robot Lawn Mower At UF Designed To Change Suburban Landscape. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/08/970808125601.htm
University Of Florida. "Robot Lawn Mower At UF Designed To Change Suburban Landscape." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/08/970808125601.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Computers & Math News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Hackerspace Provides Hackers Creative Haven

Hackerspace Provides Hackers Creative Haven

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) HeatSync Labs, a so-called hackerspace in Mesa, Arizona provides members and the public alike a space to allow their creative juices to flow and make their tech dreams into a reality. (Aug 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why A 12.9-Inch iPad Would Make Sense For Apple

Why A 12.9-Inch iPad Would Make Sense For Apple

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) There are two big knocks against the iPad — productivity limits and slumping sales. Here's how a bigger iPad could fix both of Apple's problems. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone App Tracks Your Heart Rate

Smartphone App Tracks Your Heart Rate

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) A new app that can track your heart rate 24/7 is available for download in your app store and its convenience could save your life. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nationwide Time Warner Internet Crash Results In More Bad PR

Nationwide Time Warner Internet Crash Results In More Bad PR

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) The nationwide Internet crash resulted in millions of customers' internet connection to go out for hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins