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RICHARDSON (CBS11) – In Richardson, a robot is reporting for its first day on the job.
Dallas lawn care startup, Robin has installed 50 robotic lawnmowers in North Texas, with plans to roll out 50 to 100 more every month.
“We’ve been running a lawn care business for the last 2 years. It’s grown very quickly to 6,000 customers. We see this as an opportunity to create a more reliable experience for our customers,” says Co-Founder and CEO Justin Crandall.
The cutting-edge technology has neighbors doing double takes.
“Robots are cool! People love them,” says Bart Lomont, Co-Founder and VP of Operations.
Convenience is another big draw.
“Mowing the lawn is done with a machine. It’s been done with a machine since the lawn mower was invented. We’re taking the last piece, the human element out of it,” says Lamont, adding the technology frees up crews to work with their hands, and use their skillsets to provide lawn care.
Patrick McGregor is one of Robin’s newest customers. He says he’s willing to embrace the Jetsons-esque technology if it means keeping his lawn looking freshly-cut.
“I’m not quite getting inside the shower getting teeth brushed for me robotically,” he jokes.
“I don’t have to worry about it. It’s going to do the job on its own. That’s huge,” McGregor says.
The machines move in a random pattern like Roomba vacuum cleaners. They mind the wire fence that goes around a property, like the vacuum would navigate around walls.
“When the robot is approaching your flower beds or the street, it knows it’s coming close to the wire, so it won’t run into the street,” Lomont explains.
During its infancy stage, a few of the robots fell victim to thieves. GPS trackers and stickers warning thieves will be prosecuted, have curbed the problem.
Robotic lawn mower technology is hugely popular in Europe, but slow to catch on it America. Crandall says product costs–$1,500 to $4,000–is one reason. Fenced-in backyards have proven to be another barrier. Robin has found a way around that.
“We invented and patented a door that allows the mower to go in between the yards, but also locks to keep your pets inside,” says Crandall.
McGregor says the price point ended up being about the same as what he paid for traditional lawn care service.
Plans start at $99 a month for the mower only. There is an installation fee.
Packages that include work done by humans, like edging and weeding, go up from there.