The idea of a robot with sharp blades attached to a powerful motor wandering around the lawn can sound frightening. But should it be? If you have seen a robotic mower, whether in person or on the internet, the thought may have crossed your mind. But exactly how do accidents with lawn mowers happen?
Each year, about 68,000 people with injuries caused by traditional power lawn mowers are treated in hospitals. (Source: American Academy of Pediatrics) The most injuries from traditional lawn mowers occur when people place their fingers near the blade, generally in an attempt to clear away a clump of grass or other undesired matter. Most of these accidents occur when the person reaches under the “skirt” of the mower, or reaches into the discharge chute. (Source: Technology Associates) Other common injuries are caused by flying objects. Traditional lawn mowers have large blades that can throw objects as much as 50 feet.
Combine that with risk of the operator slipping underneath, flipping over in a riding lawn mower, or being run over; one can easily see the concern for safety when it comes to lawn mowers in general.
But robotic lawn mowers are completely different. The one biggest safety advantage robotic lawn mowers have over traditional lawn mowers is that you do not have to stand behind it or ride on top of it. By removing the person, this alone eliminates most causes of lawn mower injuries.
Robotic lawn mowers are unlikely to clog. Take it from someone who has been an exclusively user of robotic lawn mowers for over 7 years – robotic mowers mow frequently and chop grass fine enough that the likelihood of clumps forming under the mower (or anywhere for that matter) are eliminated. But even if you attempt to lift the mower while it is operating, the blade will immediately stop spinning. However, if the blade(s) were to get snagged onto something, the robotic lawn mower’s computer is smart enough to shut down the blade(s) and signal for help.
Robotic lawn mowers have very different blades than the traditional mowers. First, the blades are a lot smaller which play a large part as to why it is less likely to throw objects far away. Even though robotic lawn mower blades spin a lot faster and yields a better-cut quality than traditional mower blades, the force behind the smaller blades just isn’t enough to launch objects nearly as far as larger heavier blades. Also robotic lawn mowers blades are usually recessed or protected on all sides obstructing a clear pathway for flying objects to travel.
Being an avid user and tester of robotic lawn mowers, I have personally seen objects thrown for a maximum of 5 feet max from a robotic lawn mower. The objects rarely make it more than 8 inches off the ground and do not have nearly the amount of force behind them compared to if a traditional mower throws the same object.
Since the safety mechanisms of robotic lawn mowers are integrated into the mower’s computer, they are difficult to bypass. Some robotic lawn mowers, like LawnBott utilize touch handles that work similar to touch lamps. By merely touching the handle, the blade stops spinning in an instant. All robotic mowers have lift detectors that stop the blade when lifted or flipped over.
Other safety features include PIN codes, bump sensors that detect objects left in the yard, and the ability to run during night hours are all among the palette of safety features that traditional lawn mowers couldn’t dream of.