Setting Up Robotic Lawn Mowers Without Perimeter Wires: A 2024 Comprehensive Guide

Setting Up Robotic Lawn Mowers Without Perimeter Wires: A 2024 Comprehensive Guide

You won’t be surprised to hear that robot mowers are intrinsically linked with innovative technology – so much so that for most owners, they simply need to set the perimeter and mowing frequency and then leave their mower to it.

Published: February 2024

This ‘set it and forget it’ function enables even the busiest of grounds maintenance teams or gardeners to maintain beautiful lawns – with the mechanics of the robot mower ensuring that it never mows beyond the set point or deviates from the cutting height that has been programmed in.

In this blog, we’re looking at the boundaries of robot mowers and more specifically how these mowers work with perimeter wires and without.

What is a perimeter wire and how does it contain the robot mower?

A perimeter wire is a wire which is embedded into the ground, marking the boundary of the area that you want your robot mower to stay within.

The perimeter wire allows the robot mower to easily navigate the mowing area and identify exactly where it is within the plot or area of the lawn. It works by transferring a signal between the wire and the device – one which is uninterrupted by conditions and visibility because the wire is embedded into the ground.

Having said that, the manual installation process of this wire means that setting your robot mower up takes time and energy – not to mention, it is not as easy to transfer the mower between different spaces.

So, if you run a grounds maintenance business, it’s fair to conclude that a wired mower is not a good fit for your ever-changing client list and the plethora of outside spaces that you work across. This is where “non-wired” mowers come into play.

What do “non-wired” robot mowers use to identify the boundary?

It’s time to come back to that innovative technology we mentioned at the start of this blog. While the early robot mowers relied on a perimeter wire that had to be installed around the border of the mowing area, modern variations use a form of GPS which is even more specific to identify exactly where the mower is and to ensure it doesn’t pass a certain mark or point.

The idea is that this targeted GPS, also known as RTK, enables the mower to recognise where it is in relation to the boundary lines and stay within those lines.

What is RTK?

RTK stands for Real-Time Kinetic positioning and is a technology which connects local GPS with a specific satellite which is fixed to the mower and allows the device to recognise exactly where it is on a plot of land.

There are challenges with this, as certain things can block the signal and make it difficult for the mower to determine where it is. For this reason, some owners who are seeking the support of a robot mower to cover vast expanses of lawn will install mobile beacons into the boundary line to create a secondary signal point for the device.

Whichever system you choose; whether you opt for one or a combination of the two; the mower is then driven around the perimeter in order to track where those marks are and understand the boundary, or you can programme that perimeter into the device via the app.

How does a wireless mower navigate obstacles?

We get asked about this a lot, whether it’s a bench seat in your garden or the potential for dog poo in a public park.

In short, the most modern robot mowers have a built-in camera and AI sensor technology which allows the mower to recognise when there is an obstacle on the ground and navigate around it. Using this technology, the mower should be able to separate dense patches of grass from other obstacles and decide whether to mow over or around the object.

Any issues will pop up via the app as a notification on your device, meaning you should be quickly made aware of any interruptions to the mowing schedule.

Perimeter wire or no perimeter wire?

There are pros and cons to robot mowers which use a perimeter wire, just like there are pros and cons to investing in a mower that doesn’t need one.

As a general rule, if a client or customer wants to take home a robot mower which they can set to work later that day, we would always recommend a mower which operates without the wire. These mowers are more flexible and more versatile in where and how they operate and do not require the same manual set-up.

Having said that, the perimeter wire is great for monitoring and securing the boundary of your mower and is less subject to signal interruptions than the RTK-enabled wireless devices.

For bespoke advice relating to your specific needs, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Groundtech team or your local suppliers. 

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