Across the continental US they spread more than 1.62 million hectares of grass, a good pinch of land that has little to envy to that of some large agricultural crops. With these data on the table, over the last few years several technology companies, such as Wright Manufacturing The Future Labs V Inc, have dedicated themselves to perfecting lawnmowers to achieve autonomous models, capable of maintaining vast surfaces efficiently and lowering costs. In Game, recognizes the industry, there is a juicy market, that of the automation of exterior maintenance, of around 115 billion dollars.
In an effort to get a piece of that cake, an American firm, Electric Sheep Robotics, has just launched a twist: the Dexter robot, a system that can be attached to commercial lawnmowers to turn them into autonomous devices. As the company details, Dexter can connect to new devices or models already in use, regardless of whether they are electric or gasoline, and requires only one training to work autonomously.
State-of-the-art technology to avoid obstacles
For efficient orientation and maneuvering, Dexter includes LiDAR, cameras, GPS, ultrasonic sensors, and OTA firmware updates. Thanks to this equipment, the robot would be able to detect obstacles approximately thirty and a half meters away. The Electric Sheep Robotics device is being designed based on the standard R15.08 for autonomous robots. The American company offers it following the Robots-as-a-Service (RaaS) model and applies rates that —ensures the company— vary to adjust to salary costs in each area.
One of its purposes, in fact, is to tackle the labor shortage that businesses dedicated to the maintenance of outdoor gardens seem to see, a problem that would be aggravating COVID-19. In the background there is also a juicy business. “I don’t think people realize that turfgrass is the largest crop in the US. More land and water is devoted to turfgrass than to wheat and corn combined and more than 50 million acres of land in the US. USA have some kind of grass. 20 billion dollars are allocated a year just to mow the lawn.” explica Naganand Murty, de Electri Sheep.
Proof of the attractiveness of the sector and the interest that automation proposals such as Dexter arouse among investors is that just a few days ago Electric Sheep announced a considerable injection of funds: a Series A financing for an amount of $21.5 million led by Tiger Global, raising its total collection to date —precisa Business Wire— to 25.7 million. With that sum Electric Sheep is presented as one of the best capitalized emerging companies dedicated to autonomous mowing. Founded in 2019 by directors Nag Murty, Jarret Herold and Gunjit Singh, the sartu up launched its first paid pilot shortly after, in March 2020.
We were definitely catching people’s attention last year in Pennsylvania… expect more of this excitement around the country in 2022! #AutonomousVehicles #autonomousmowers #landscaping #Robotics pic.twitter.com/MqPkE4R6dp
— Electric Sheep Robotics (@sheeprobotics) January 21, 2022
Electric Sheep is just one more example of the growing interest in automated solutions in the yard care and agriculture industry. Tevel Aerobotics Technologies, an Israeli firm that has developed an autonomous flying robot for harvesting fruit, has already managed to attract, for example, the support of large companies in the industry, such as Japan’s Kuoba, and raise around 20 million dollars in funds.
Another example is left by the CES in Las Vegas, during which John Deere presented its latest autonomous tractor, controllable remotely, from anywhere, via smartphone. recently even The Times echoed how Silicon Valley is spending billions to agriculture with robots in a scenario of shortage of workers heavily affected by the pandemic.
Cover Image | Electric Sheep Robotics