The 4 advantages of a GPS robotic mower

GPS robotic mower: a revolutionary technology

Between now and spring 2021 Belrobotics plans to officially launch the GPS RTK versions of its professional robotic mowers Bigmow and Parcmow as well as its robotic golf ball picker, the Ballpicker. Although this technology already exists and was tested some ten years ago, it has only recently gained full maturity, reaching a cost that is extremely attractive to its users

For three years Belrobotics has been developing and testing GPS versions of its robotic mowers in as many situations as possible. 30 prototypes have thus traveled different grounds between Belgium, the Netherlands and the United States. The first feedback turns out to be extremely positive.

The benefits of the GPS robotic mowers

Obviously, integrating GPS technology in robotic mowers is not at all trivial. This has an impact on the price of the models, but the various benefits definitely compensate the initial cost.

 An accelerated cut

A traditional robotic mower does not cut straight up and down but at random. Mowing a whole ground thus becomes a time-consuming activity, since the robotic mower will sometimes pass over zones that have already been mown. Robotic mowers with GPS guidance are now able to smoothly cut in a linear way. Thanks to this development they can cut up to three times more surface in the same timespan.

The robots can reach a cutting speed equivalent to that of a conventional tractor-mower without human intervention. A Belrobotics robot is capable of cutting up to 3 football pitches in a single day. In another order of magnitude, a standard Bigmow is needed to cut 2 football pitches. The smallest model, the Parcmow RTK, can now perform this task within the same timeframe.

 A more accurate cut

Considering the GPS function in your phone or car, you could say that precision is far from perfect and that your future GPS mower might as well end up where it should not be. Rest assured, RTK technology offers razor-sharp surgical precision within 3 to 5 centimetres. This allows the different models to mow a field in long and nice straight lines without leaving any visible marks. The ideal solution if you desire a field mown to perfection.

How does it work?

Robotic mowers with a higher capacity

Increasing the accuracy implies augmenting the capacity of the robotic mowers once and for all. As explained earlier, a Parcmow GPS is capable of cutting what a standard Bigmow can maintain. So, the same model is capable of cutting much more without having to return to its recharging base. This allows you to organise yourself even better by mowing only at certain times, whenever is convenient for you. For football pitches or other large areas with a high use percentage this is a considerable advantage: you can increase the number of training sessions or the duration of use of your installations.

More possibilities

The guidance technology for robotic mowers also presents other specific advantages. The RTK technology for example functions with a GPS receiver that acts as a relay between the satellites and the robots. So, the robot always remembers its last position. This means that, even if the device must return to its base, it will start cutting again from exactly the same place where it left off. This, once again, is very time saving.

Another advantage is that the robot modifies its cutting plan by 45 or 90 degrees once a full cycle is completed. This avoids leaving any permanent marks on the grass and increases the quality even more.

Finally, with the arrival of GPS models, a new application and portal come to life in order to better control the fleets of robotic mowers. You can control them all from a smartphone while conducting the following activities: receiving notifications, changing the different parameters, geolocating the robots, filtering them according to certain criteria, modifying the boundaries of plots of land, marking zones as prohibited, etc.

GPS robot mower | RTK technology – Belrobotics

GPS technology for robot mowers

Belrobotics is constantly on the outlook for new possibilities for its professional automatic mowers. That is why our engineers have developed a new accessory with a GPS RTK steering system that allows mowing with unequalled precision: accurate to the nearest centimetre!

What is RTK technology?

Abbreviation of Real Time Kinematic, this technology functions by picking up waves carrying certain signals:

  • GPS (the Global Positioning System from the USA)
  • GLONASS (the Global Navigation Satellite System from the Soviet Union)
  • and Galileo (the Global Navigation Satellite System from the European Union)

Those signals are then corrected in real time by a reference station, which results in mowing with centimetre accuracy!

 RTK technology for robot mowers: feedback

Many clients make already use of this new GPS mowing technology and are extremely positive about it. This is also the case for the Belgian Football Centre in Tubize which unites several football grounds used to train the Red Devils as well as young teams. Unsurprisingly, the grass must be cut perfectly for a game at professional level. This means intense work for the groundsmen who must guarantee that the pitches are always usable and who must therefore manage the mowing plannings very well. In an earlier interview they had already shared their experiences with our robot mowers for football grounds and their advantages. We seized this opportunity to also talk about their views on this new technology.

In order to not stop at a single opinion we also gave the floor to Gaetan Gervy who works at Keymolen, a company that sells farming machinery and equipment in Rebecq. They have a ground of 9 000 m² and are therefore extremely interested in our large surface mowers.

 GPS robot mowers for an accelerated cut

Frédéric Veraghaenne, Director of Operations of the Belgian Football Centre in Tubize, explains among other things that one of the advantages of this RTK system is to accelerate the cutting of the grounds by avoiding several passes in the same place during the same mow. For a centre whose grounds have a high rate of occupation, time management can be complicated and saving time is definitely an advantage.

For the company Keymolen this advantage is even more obvious. A standard robot mower without RKT technology would need as much as 5 days to mow their grounds. By installing this technology on a Bigmow this time can be reduced to three 2-hour passes. This pass must be split to allow the mower to recharge, but the timesaving is impressive.

This advantage concerns not only the mowing time but also the mowing potential of models. In fact, a smaller mower can now cut a larger surface, since it loses less time. The wear of parts such as the wheels or bearings is also reduced given that the mower only cuts very specific zones.

 GPS robot mowers for nicely cut grass

With their even more developed guidance system the mowers can now also mow the grounds with straight lines. The user can currently choose between 8 different configurations. Furthermore, with such a configuration, the robot no longer turns away if it comes up to a zone of higher grass as this does not form an obstacle anymore. Another advantage for the professional sports grounds that must always be in perfect shape!

 GPS robot mowers for a simpler cut of different grounds

The guidance system also allows a simpler cut of different grounds. In fact, the maintenance crews no longer have to move the mower and the application allows to follow by remote and prepare the line of the next ground. As we have already mentioned these lines are optimisable and modifiable. For the Belgian Football Centre, which has several grounds, this management is now greatly simplified.

A GPS installable on your Connected Line model

Finally, the GPS RTK technology can be installed on all our models of the Connected Line range. An antenna is added to the robot mower and to the ground that needs to be mowed. An additional module is connected to the computer. Thanks to these elements the exact position of the mower can be determined and it can mow more easily in straight lines.

The system currently functions using a Wi-Fi signal that can cover a working radius of up to 250-300 metres. It is also possible to use amplifiers to enlarge this zone. Our engineers are working on a new step: using 4G to make our clients’ lives even easier!

If you are interested in this technology and want to estimate the timesaving or financial benefit it would bring, do not hesitate to contact us for a free quote!

Robot mower for a big garden: Feedback – Belrobotics

Robot mowers for big gardens: economies of scale

Still underused only a few years ago, robot mowers are now everywhere to be found and especially in the gardens of private individuals. There may be a multitude of smaller models, adapted to gardens that are the size of postage stamps, but models tailored to more extensive surfaces are still not exactly legion. At Belrobotics, our models are mostly designed for professional use: municipal parks and gardens departments, football grounds, golf clubs, company grounds, etc. However, they also suit ‘down to the ground’ any private individual who owns and has to maintain large grounds.

This also happens to be the case for family J, who decided a few years ago to invest in a Bigmow model to look after their lawn. According to them several aspects have turned this investment into a real success:

Considerable time savings

For Mrs J, with her 2 hectares of land, a complete mow by tractor could take anything between 6 to 7 hours depending on the condition of the ground. So, a robot mower is an incredible time saver especially during periods when the grass grows very quickly. Furthermore, as it is now possible to adjust cutting times, you can easily decide which particular time would suit your needs best. 

 A top-quality cut

It is true that saving time is important, but there is no point mowing as fast as possible only to sacrifice the quality of your lawn. Fortunately, a good robot mower now allows you to apply a mulching technique to improve the condition of your lawn, reduce felt and plant diseases and even provide protection during the summer heat. For family J who, given the size if their lawn, had to mow without picking up the cut grasses and plants, mulching also means that they can now enjoy a ’clean’ lawn without a heap of all kinds of grass and foliage.

 An adaptable multi-zone mower

Not all gardens present a nice flat canvas allowing easy-access mowing. Such is the case with the garden of Mrs X. Crossed by a brook, it is split into three zones. One of the advantages of our mowers is their ability to easily mow multi-zone grounds, as well as, for even bigger gardens, to manage the use of several mowers. Whatever might happen, you definitely do not have to fear that your lawn somehow cannot be got to. Thanks to an expert laying the peripheral cable you can rest assured that your robot will not damage any zone, trees, flowers beds or anything else.

An application to track your robot mower

The application is a real advantage although it might rather look like an accessory. Yet, for many clients, professional or private individuals, it brings peace of mind in many ways. The application in fact allows you to know the location of your robot mower at any given point in time. If it runs up against an obstacle you get a direct alert and you can then immediately start solving the problem. And you can also easily reset certain parameters such as the cutting height and working hours.

Transcription

Our grounds are indeed very uneven. In fact, it is an old meadow. It was never seeded to be a beautiful lawn, so there are holes and lumps all over the place. It sort of goes up and down. There are all kinds of little animals living here on our two little hectares.

A garden with plenty of fauna and quite a lot of flora too I might say. We have plenty of trees and like to see flowers pretty much everywhere. For the robot this is no problem, it just turns this way and that. The robot also eases its way around the trees and does not damage anything at all.

I used to mow by tractor, so, depending on the season and the state of the grass, which can be dry or sodden and covered with leaves or not I could look forward to a good 6 or 7 hours of straight mowing. Now we use the robot for the three zones in these U-shaped grounds. We have really defined the back and each side of the house, all crossed by a little brook. We get up in the morning and lawn is mown after a good night’s sleep, we do not have to worry about the job anymore!

I save a whole day each week in the high mowing season. With the tractor we were not able to collect the cut grass from this surface. Now we no longer have a problem with grass sticking to our feet thanks to the mulching technique. This is the future, it is no use going back in time. The robot mower offers more comfort and allows to save time. Moreover, the result is much nicer. I can always check the robot mower’s battery, verify its location and what type of alarm it sends me. To do that I just need my tablet or smartphone, that is all.