Dreametech (追觅科技), a versatile developer of robotic products and home appliances, will unveil its first-ever mowing robot at the upcoming IFA 2023 in Berlin, Germany.
The mower is the sixth robotic product in its portfolio, following its release in July of a smart server robot and a swimming pool cleaning robot.
It also stands out as one of the few models in the market that are capable of borderless lawn mowing.
The product is scheduled to go on sale in European and North American markets in the first quarter of 2024, targeting the mid-to-upper-end segments.
Dreametech, which defines itself as a robotic company in a broad sense of the word, names its first-generation law mowing robot A1.
Photo courtesy of Dreametech
A1 sets itself apart from peers mainly in that it adopts the 3D lidar solutions, which are rare in the industry, Dreametech said.
Law mowing robots have been a fast-expanding category. According to Grand View Research, a US-based research institute, in 2021 the global market for robotic mowers hit US$30.4 billion, 70% of which was concentrated in the home scenario.
According to a survey by www.huaon.com, a Chinese business intelligence provider, the global mowing robot industry is projected to be valued at US$44.1 billion in 2027.
In a comparison, penetration of this gadget is still low, at 10% in Europe and less than 1% in North America, said the survey.
Drawbacks of traditional robots
Traditional mowing robots require setting up perimeters to confine their activities in a given area.
This process proves tiring, time-consuming and costly.
An emerging alternative is borderless mowing. Robots designed for this purpose can work independently of the physical perimeters.
Image credit: Pexels
Instead, users set up virtual barriers by deploying ultra-wideband (UWB) signal generators and real-time kinematics (RTK) base stations.
They send out signals to keep the robots away from a designated no-go zone.
Nonetheless, this method also has its drawbacks, being that it is difficult to learn and complicated to practice.
In reality, the reliability of the UWB-RTK approach is often called into question, since the signals they emit are likely to be lost due to occultation by houses and trees.
As a result, mowing robots often lose track of their own real-time positioning while in action.
3D lidar solutions
To solve this pain point, Dreametech’s A1 utilizes a signal generator-free design, featuring ease of use and freeing users from the preparatory work in advance of applying the robot.
A1 comes with Dreametech’s self-developed OmniSense™3D system, an all-in-one solution comprising mapping, positioning and obstacle avoidance, among other functions.
In terms of hardware, 3D high-precision lidars are mounted on A1 to ensure stable signal transmission. The lidars have a range of up to 70 m, with a 360°*59° field of view, allowing the robot to create an accurate 3D map of the yard or lawn in a timely fashion.
Replication of consumer-facing technologies
By leveraging Dreametech’s obstacle avoidance algorithms and dot matrix-style environmental perception, the mower can identify numerous types of hurdles and bypass them in all directions.
Out in the field, the robot is programmed to move around in a zigzag manner, the same pattern of route planning as seen in its robot vacuums.
Photo courtesy of Dreametech
Dreametech is not the only company replicating its consumer electronics technologies on mowing robots.
Segway-Ninebot (九号公司), a company mainly making short-distance mobility tools, also leverages its strengths in route planning algorithms to upgrade mowing robots.
Other than similar startups, Dreametech faces stiff competition from legacy developers of mowers like Postech (宝时得), Chervon (泉峰控股) and Daye (大叶股份).