Greenzie-equipped mowers are smart, capable, efficient, productive and can help reduce labor costs of lawn maintenance. But they aren't perfect. Here are some of the current imitations and gotchas as of April 2023.
Greenzie-equipped mowers running autonomous mowing software are safe, smart, capable, productive and can make your crews more efficient while reducing labor costs. But they aren’t perfect.
Here are some of the current limitations and gotchas as of April 2023.
The mower in manual mode is fully capable of slopes and sloped terrain, but in autonomous mode, if you put your boundaries on slopes, the mower may struggle and turn down the hill. Future software updates will make the mower slope aware to turn up the hill. For now, leave the hills in the middle of the perimeter to go up and down (slight slopes are fine), or just mow the flat areas around the hills in sections and jump on another mower to tag team the job and get it done 100% faster.
The cameras are fully capable, 360, and see better than us, and even in the dark. However, small obstacles in the grass can trick the mower (just like you and me). If something doesn’t come up out of the grass, the mower will run over it. It’s best to keep the area for mowing clear, and not put obstacles in the path. Small thin obstacles such as guide wires are a no-no. Use a cone to distinguish these obstacles, and toss it out while driving, or carve these out during your perimeter mow.
Sometimes, going in and out of shady areas, in full sun, back and forth can trigger false obstacles. The reason is auto exposure, and timing. These generally clear quickly and if you slow the mower down, the auto exposure can work quickly to change to see the detail, but if you’re going at full speed, it can sometimes cause the mower to pause while the exposure adjusts. Here’s a video of it in real life, this was on the boundary, so not a big deal. Just like when you are driving and the sun glare blinds you and you have to adjust. We are working on setting an exposure and area for auto exposure to limit the wild swings in software, and will likely fix this in a future update. For now, consider changing the angle, time of mow, or using relaxed obstacle detection mode. There are many work arounds for this now while we improve our software.
Some tight angled turns may create missed slivers, or pizza stripes in wet grass, and certain conditions. This can also leave duff and big mulched clumps. But good news is that the software can do an extra perimeter pass, to clean this up. We’re always improving our turn algorithm and overlap, so future updates may make even this final perimeter lap unnecessary.
Mowing around obstacles still leaves a 3 ft from the obstacle path. While we anticipate in future updates being able to go closer and closer to obstacles, this is an area we take seriously with safety and will likely take time to decrease. It’s best to leave obstacles out of the way and let the mower mow the big areas, as us humans are better at mowing.
You can mow autonomously in the rain: the mower works great: it doesn’t care, just put some water repellant wipes and you’re good to go. You can mow in the rain, wash the mower, it’s water resistant, built to last, but it is not fully waterproof (i.e don’t put it in the pond, as the engine isn’t waterproof either). We’ve tested in the field and have used it all season during rain. If the rain is too heavy, it might see false positives, but at that point your field might be too muddy and you might rut, but finishing a job or light rain is no problem.
As always, your sites and conditions may vary, but after 5 years, we’ve seen a lot, and the Greenzie software with rugged reliable industry standard sensors from the self driving car technology is available now and very capable. The only other gotcha is once you’ve had a Greenzie-equipped mower on your crew, it’s tough to go back to just using a manual only mower.