The days of dreaming about sitting outside in the shade, sipping a delicious drink while you watch your lawn being mowed by autonomous robots are over. According to a report from Reuters, the FCC has just given iRobot approval to build a robot that completely automates the art of mowing a yard.
The FCC Steps In
It might sound odd that the Federal Communications Commission would need to approve the device for manufacturing, but iRobot plans to have the robot communicate with wireless beacons. These beacons are stakes that users would place on the ground in order to create a map of where the robot needs to cut.
“These beacons will be set out only during mowing season, and except for a brief set-up period, will only communicate with the robot,” said iRobot in its filing. The kinks in the technology are still being worked out, so much of the device is still unknown.
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory Has Concerns Over Robots
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory worried that the increase in wireless chatter might crowd the air with wireless signals, which could interfere with telescopes. But iRobot assured the observatory that users would only need a limited number of beacons, and their range was small since they would only be around 24 inches tall. The FCC’s waiver indicates that it agrees with iRobot’s argument.
Development Is Still Underway
The Roomba maker isn’t the first company to attempt making a lawn-mowing robot. Brands like Flymo, Robomow, and Bosch have previously attempted to seek the FCC’s approval in the matter, but iRobot’s concept won them over since it didn’t require intricate setups.
“iRobot is constantly working to develop new practical robotic solutions that are designed to improve people’s lives, both inside and outside of the home. The FCC’s decision will allow iRobot to continue exploring the viability of wideband, alongside other technologies, as part of a long-term product exploration effort in the lawn mowing category,” said iRobot.
Landscaping companies, and teenagers with a little entrepreneurial spirit, don’t need to worry just yet. The company still has a lot of research ahead of it before it’s ready to release consumer-ready robots into society.