Honda has unveiled a prototype of its first-ever electric autonomous zero-turn riding mower, which can operate by itself or be manually controlled. The Honda Autonomous Work Mower (AWM) is designed to improve the efficiency and sustainability of lawn care and landscape maintenance companies. The AWM will be featured at the upcoming Equip Exposition, the international landscape, outdoor living, and equipment exposition, in Louisville, Kentucky.
How Does the Honda AWM Work?
The Honda Autonomous Work Mower (AWM) combines industry-leading cutting performance and operator comfort with high location accuracy and obstacle detection. It is powered by a battery that can be recharged using a standard 120V outlet. The AWM can mow up to 2.5 acres per charge, depending on the terrain and grass conditions.
The AWM can be operated in two modes: manual or autonomous. The operator can drive the mower using a joystick and a tablet or smartphone in manual mode. In autonomous mode, the operator can set up the mowing route and pattern using a "Teaching" mode, in which the mower is driven to create a map using a global navigation satellite system (GNSS). The AWM can learn multiple mowing routes and patterns that it then saves to a cloud server.
Once a route is saved, the operator can launch the AWM's autonomous operation in "Playback" mode. With the AWM in the starting position, the operator downloads the specified mowing route map using a tablet or smartphone. The AWM then begins autonomous operation and mows according to the map route.
The AWM can maintain straight tracking on hills and rough terrain with two-motor traction control that keeps the tires from slipping. It also has four radars and four LiDAR sensors for obstacle detection. The AWM can avoid or stop any obstacles in its path, such as people, animals, vehicles, or debris. The AWM also has an emergency stop button and a remote control that can override the autonomous operation anytime.
The AWM can automatically adjust its speed and blade rotation according to the grass conditions. It can reduce power consumption by reducing blade rotation at low speeds and low loads. At high loads, it can reduce its speed to prevent grass clogging and uncut grass.
Why Is the Honda AWM Innovative?
The Honda AWM is an innovative product that aims to provide a solution for some of the challenges facing the lawn care and landscape maintenance industry. Some of these challenges include labor shortages, rising costs, environmental regulations, and customer demands.
By using the Honda AWM, lawn care and landscape maintenance companies can save time, money, and resources. The AWM can free up workers' time to focus on more high-value tasks, such as trimming, edging, pruning, or fertilizing. The AWM can also reduce labor costs by requiring fewer workers and less supervision. The AWM can also lower operating costs by reducing fuel consumption, emissions, noise, and maintenance.
The Honda AWM also supports Honda's global goal of achieving carbon neutrality – net zero emissions – for all products and corporate activities by 2050. The AWM is an eco-friendly product that offers zero-emissions and low-noise operation. The AWM can help lawn care and landscape maintenance companies meet their sustainability goals and comply with environmental regulations. The AWM can also enhance customer satisfaction by providing consistent and high-quality mowing results.
What Are the Next Steps for the Honda AWM?
Honda successfully field-tested a proof-of-concept version of the AWM with a leading U.S. commercial landscape company earlier this year. To further advance the prototype AWM's development, in 2024, Honda will begin a pilot program and is seeking companies to participate in assessing the AWM's applicability to their work environments. Interested companies can visit Honda's Equip Exposition indoor booth #3134 or contact Honda at email@example.com.
Honda plans to launch the commercial version of the AWM in 2025 in North America. Honda expects that the AWM will be well received by lawn care and landscape maintenance companies who are looking for innovative solutions to improve their efficiency and sustainability.
"Our development of the prototype zero-turn Honda Autonomous Work Mower comes at a time when technology is shaping the future of the landscaping industry," said Hirokazu Hara, vice president of New Business Development, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "To address labor shortages and help support companies' sustainability goals, the Honda AWM aims to provide zero-emission alternatives to gasoline-powered mowers that can reduce operating costs and help accelerate the electrification of landscape maintenance equipment."
The Honda AWM is not only a product of innovation but also a product of passion. Honda has a long history of developing and producing lawnmowers, dating back to 1978 when it introduced the first four-stroke engine lawnmower in the U.S. market. Since then, Honda has been committed to providing high-quality and reliable lawnmowers for residential and commercial customers. The Honda AWM is the latest example of Honda's dedication to creating products that enhance people's lives and protect the environment.