People who know me say that if it weren't for Autoblog, I'd probably be running a site called Mowerblog. I'm unusual in that lawn mowing, to me, is a form of relaxation, a hobby like knitting or racquetball is for someone else. As such, I try to buy the best equipment, and that means there's a Honda mower in my garage.

You didn't know? The company that builds the Accord and Civic are to lawn mowers what Lamborghini is to cars. But today, Honda has introduced a new mower called Miimo that takes me out of the equation entirely. Miimo is an autonomous robotic mower that Honda will be selling in the European market only (for now) starting in 2013.

Miimo runs on power supplied by its lithium-ion battery pack and, just like a Roomba robotic vacuum, will return to its charging station for a fresh batch of electrons when it runs out. Upon purchase, an authorized installer will set up the charging station, as well as run the boundary wire around the perimeter of the yard in which Miimo has to stay. The mower can operate in a random pattern (again, like a Roomba), a directional mode where it mows back and forth in lines, or a combination of the two. As for safety, Miimo has bump sensors so it won't break any potted plants, and if lifted off the ground, its blades will automatically stop and starting up again requires entering a unique PIN number.

Miimo will come in two models, 300 and 500, which refer to their maximum perimeter cuts, and according to Honda, a 500 can mow up to 3,000 square meters or three quarters of an acre. Honda hasn't mentioned pricing, but going by the cost of its push mowers in the U.S., Europeans should expect to pay a premium for giving Asimo's best friend a home.

Will the Miimo replace my HRX217VKA? Probably not anytime soon. While the market for robotic lawnmowers is growing, especially with green-conscious homeowners searching for less-polluting lawn care equipment, human supervision is still required and, at least for people like me, buying a Miimo would mean giving up those precious few hours a week where I can't hear the rest of the world over the sound of the blades.
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Honda enters fast-growing European robotic lawn mower market with launch of Honda Miimo

Honda is to enter the fast-growing European robotic lawn mower market with the introduction of Honda Miimo, its first commercial robotic product for domestic use.

Honda Miimo is the perfect solution for those wanting a beautiful lawn but would rather not or can't mow it themselves. The ultimate time and labour saving device, once installed it needs minimal human interaction when working to ensure a beautifully cut lawn, every day, for the length of the mowing season.

Honda Miimo operates a 'continuous cutting' system, typically mowing just 2-3mm of grass at a time, several times each week. It cuts in a random pattern, meaning less stress on the grass, more healthy growth and reduced moss and weeds. Unlike a traditional lawn mower it doesn't need to collect cuttings, as the clippings it creates are so small that they are dispersed into the lawn root system, breaking down quickly to act as a natural fertiliser which improves the health and quality of the grass.

Honda Miimo navigates the garden through an intelligent combination of controls, timers and real-time sensory feedback. It works within a boundary wire, installed under the ground or in the grass around the perimeter of the garden. Honda Miimo detects the electronic signal in the wire and stays within it, ensuring high levels of safety and accuracy. Powered by a high performance lithium-ion battery, it is self-charging, constantly monitoring its battery level and returning to its docking station when it needs to recharge.

Uniquely, Honda Miimo features a fan, built-in to its blade holder, which creates airflow to effectively 'suck' the grass towards the blades. This ensures a superior finish and a more consistent distribution of clippings back into the root system. Additionally, in a first in the market, it uses three highly durable blades, which bend rather than shatter on impact with hard objects, eliminating the danger of pieces of broken blade being left on the lawn. Cutting height is adjustable between 20mm and 60mm, to suit the conditions and time of year.

European sales of robotic mowers are growing rapidly. With the garden increasingly used as an 'outdoor living room', people living busy lives and not wanting the work of maintaining a lawn; and an ageing population perhaps not able to do so, robotic mowers are a perfect solution. They also deliver excellent environmental benefits; not producing CO2, quieter than petrol models, and with no cuttings to dispose of.

Honda Miimo operates using one of three modes – 'random', 'directional' or 'mixed', to suit the size and type of garden. Random mode sees it navigate the lawn without a fixed pattern; whilst in directional mode it moves back and forth in a more uniform fashion to ensure a faster cut. Mixed mode allows intervals of random and directional cutting.

Honda Miimo features three independent 360 degree 'bump' sensors, which detect a solid contact between it and any obstacle. If a bump sensor is activated, it will stop, turn and move away from the point of contact in a different direction.

Honda Miimo can ascend slopes up to 24 degrees, and when it encounters patches of thick or long grass it will automatically reduce wheel speed but maintain blade speed in order to deal with tough areas effectively.

Both safety and security are assured by two 'lift' sensors which are triggered if Honda Miimo leaves the ground. On activation it shuts down completely, an alarm sounds, and it cannot be used until the owner inputs a unique PIN. In line with new regulations this means that it cannot be picked up whilst the blades are turning, and it is rendered useless in the event of theft.

At launch, Honda Miimo will be available in two models, 300 and 500, offering a maximum perimeter cut of 300m and 500m respectively. Honda Miimo 500 will mow up to a total lawn size of 3,000 square metres, around half the size of a typical football pitch, making it suitable for a wide variety of gardens.

The introduction of Honda Miimo heralds a whole new model for Honda Lawn & Garden Authorised Dealers. Uniquely in the market, it will be sold as a full service package. Upon purchase, the dealer installs the docking station, which acts as both the charging point and signal generator. A boundary wire is connected to the docking station, then routed around the perimeter of the garden to define the mowing area. Honda Miimo is then programmed to cut to a schedule convenient to the customer, via its inbuilt timer and calendar. Then, at the end of the season the Honda Authorised Dealer collects it for winter maintenance, and, in some countries, winter storage.

Honda has been working in the development of robotics since 1986, with the predecessors of ASIMO, the world's most advanced humanoid robot. Honda Miimo is the first commercial robotic product manufactured by the company for public use – representing its first step towards providing customers with robotic solutions to improve quality of life at home.

Honda Miimo will be manufactured by Honda France Manufacturing in Orlean. It will be available from Honda Authorised Dealers across Europe in early 2013.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is this a advertisement for Honda? First of all the professionals don't use HONDA lawn mowers at all. Because they Break and don't last. I have a friend in the lawn mower repair business and Honda mowers go though carburetors like water he said . Made out of plastic. I would be much more comfortable calling a TORO a rolls Royce not a Honda. This author is is way misinformed. Also Honda mowers use steal decks and are cheap. I really hate when someone is paid off buy a company to post things like this. I know for sure that I will be buying if not at least a car but a Briggs engine and a Toro motor. Its time for Americans to stop saying everything foreign is the best.
        • 2 Years Ago
        6 years and not ONE issue... Really can't beat the 6 year no questions asked deck warranty and it's a Honda engine... WTH? MANY MANY people use plastic carbs. What makes them junk? Because they're plastic? Oh and my deck is plastic not steel... All the Industrial Honda's are cast aluminum and the engine has a cast iron liner. I think YOU need to do your homework M8... I have 8" wheels with sealed bearings, a clutch on the blade that allows the engine to continue running so I don't have to restart it after stopping to move something. Man... I just love it... Best thing about my Honda is the way it goes from bag to discharge to mulch. Just the slide of a lever. Plus the hydrostatic control means SUPER finite control of your speed on the fly when you add in the six speed transmission it's connected to it makes it even MORE adjustable I've used JD's, Toro's, Snappers, and then I bought the Honda and it's a JOY to walk out, pull the rope and have it start on the first pull. I literally add stabilized fuel to it in the fall and change the oil and in the spring I throttle it up, pull once and BAM! Fires off on the first pull.
        • 2 Years Ago
        • 2 Years Ago
        While I was never a pro lawn service, I mowed lawns in highschool (4-5 a week) and the Honda mower I used is still going strong. It was a few years old when I started using it (my brother used it first). It's about 20+ years old now, still being used by my dad. So while I don't disagree with you, I think it's unfair to down-talk Honda mowers so much.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Nice, I wrote a response regarding thatch and reliability issues, and they deleted it. I guess Honda advertisements warrant censorship on AOL articles.
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Mow the lawn, Miimo." "I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."
      Bill Cosworth
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well I had a few Honda Law Mowers and they are not great to say the least. They are not great after replacing my carburetor several items and engine problems. So who ever says Honda makes the best mowers because they get 6 years out of them is not saying anything. I have a Honda and a 25 year old Toro and the Toro is still running where the Honda is sitting waiting for parts.
      • 2 Years Ago
      John: My Toro 22 in. Personal Pace Electric Start Self-Propelled Gas Mower Cost half what your mower did, and it has rear wheel drive variable speed just by pushing on the handlebar (no lever to pull), electric start (charge once a year), mulching/bagging, and it has run great for 8 years now! You got taken going for the Honda name on a mower.
        • 2 Years Ago
        Ten years ago I gave my 22 year old Honda HR21 to my brother when I wanted a self propelled mower (Honda). BOTH are running great!
      • 2 Years Ago
      I hate mowing the lawn so something like this is awesome to me
        • 2 Years Ago
        How about paying a neighborhood kid? Keep the money circulating locally.
      • 2 Years Ago
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Lamborghini of lawn mowers would be something like a Walker, Exmark, Hustler, etc. These companies make the best ride on mowers. If we're talking about push mowers then it's Toro that makes the best there. Honda does make pretty good residential push mowers, though.
        • 2 Years Ago
        If you are referring to reliability and repair costs, you may be on to something comparing Toro with Lamborghini. If you want to know what to buy, look at what the pros use.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I agree with the author that mowing the lawn is very therapeutic, along with washing my car. I have made several life decisions while doing those two activities lol. I'm going to the carwash today after leave work and change clothes :)
      • 2 Years Ago
      Robotic mowers are nothing new, there are several on the market for years now. Concerns are usually over longevity though and whether or not the models are able to cut the lawn frequently and clean enough not to cause thatch problems on your lawn. And if its not reliable and isn't fully automated, you're not saving yourself much time, and if its not cheap enough then its not worthwhile compared to just having some Mexicans do it for you once a week.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I sort of understand Asimo, but I highly doubt Miimo will help Honda build better cars.
      J. Chris Wall
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fantastic! Now if they would just bring their riders back to the US. I have a 1993 model which runs great (inline water cooled 2 cylinder), but what will I do when it passes? My HRX is just too small for my large yard.
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