Greener Grass with Hybrid Mower

| Industrial Sector News

Autonomous hybrid field mower provides sustainable answer to labour shortages in the agricultural industry

Autonomous hybrid electric heavy duty lawn mower has been developed for maintaining grounds covering large areas

The equipment is supposed to reduce emissions and go some way to solving agricultural labour shortages.

“Prime Sod” of Texas has been named as the first user of the FireFly M220-AV autonomous mowing machine, which was developed primarily for turfgrass production facilities but can also be used for the maintenance of large areas of field, lawns or playing surfaces.

The Texan company took delivery of its machine in May this year, which is now in service having been through its “teach and repeat” autonomous mowing program.

The program involves driving the mower manually in teach mode, returning it to the start position and placing it in repeat mode without the driver, allowing the mower to autonomously repeat the path over and over again.

The M220-AV uses a controller to coordinate a robust suite of LiDAR sensors, cameras and GPS receiver to ensure its safe and accurate navigation. The vehicle stops automatically when it detects objects in its path or loses connectivity.

The mower also has greener credentials to its predecessors and other commercial mowers on the market through the use of hybrid diesel-electric propulsion.

According to FireFly, the M220-AV has been designed to meet the needs of not only the turf farm industry, but also perform turf maintenance roles where the requirements of commercial farms are mirrored by those of such markets as golf, sports turf, parks and municipalities.

Additionally, FireFly CEO Andrew Limpert noted that the steadily increasing costs and shortages of labour is becoming a serious threat to the future of traditional farming. The ability to automate manual repetitive tasks is critical to its survival and robotics and automation hold the key to the long-term competitive positioning in agriculture.

The ability to increase labour efficiency while lowering the requirement for fossil fuels through hybrid and electrification technology will reduce emissions and saves expenses in fuel consumption. The growing need for increased efficiency coupled with sustainability, is an opportunity in virtually all areas of agriculture. In this respect, technology is a clear solution,” he concludes.

Jonathan Newell
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