Honda, the firm behind the humanoid robot Asimo, has finally brought to market a product using some of its robotic know-how. But those expecting to have automaton butlers in their homes to serve them tea and scones will have to wait a bit longer, as the Honda Miimo is actually a robotic lawnmower.
The device, claims Honda, needs "minimal human interaction" to operate, and, once set up, will cut the lawn to the perfect length (adjustable between 20mm and 60mm) every day of the mowing season. Depending on the type of lawn, it has three modes to ensure the style of cut suits the venue: random, directional and mixed.
Random will cut in no set pattern; directional is more uniform and faster; and mixed offers a variety of the two.
The Honda Miimo features a fan built into its blade holder, which sucks the blades of grass upright in order to mow more effectively, and clippings will be vacuumed into the root system.
And Honda says its YAW sensor - which allows the mower to know when it is on a slope and adjust its drive motors to ensure a straight line cut - is a first for the market.
To keep the Miimo within certain boundaries, the owner is required to bury "boundary wire" under the lawn at points beyond which the lawnmower must not cross. This can also be used to create up to five different zones within the garden in which the device will operate, and will be placed by authorised installers after purchase.
Honda has added a "high performance" lithium-ion battery to the robotic helper so that it can recharge itself whenever needed.
The Honda Miimo comes in two models, HRM300 and HRM500, with the latter being recommended for "larger, more complex gardens". It comes with a cutting perimeter of 500 metres, and its stablemate a cutting perimeter of 300 metres.
They will be available in the UK from 1 November for £1,990 and £2,235 respectively.