If you took a look at newer Roombas and wondered why that clever mapping couldn't be used to cut your lawn... well, you're not alone. iRobot has unveiled the Terra, a robotic lawn mower that uses the company's mapping tech to trim your grass with minimal fuss. Instead of marking your lawn area with boundary wires as you do with many existing robomowers, you place wireless beacons (shown below) and drive the bot once around the perimeter. After that, it's largely hands-off. Like a Roomba, the Terra will automatically make the rounds and return to a charging base whenever it's low on power.
You can use iRobot's Home app to schedule lawn cutting, fine-tune the grass height and specify areas that are off-limits. It shouldn't shred your petunias, then. The bot itself is built to survive the rain and can handle the not-so-forgiving terrain in your yard.
Don't expect to buy a Terra all that soon. iRobot is only promising to sell the mower sometime in 2019, and the company has only committed to launches in both Germany and (in beta form) the US. This is more of a tentative step into an unfamiliar category than a full-on leap. With that said, this might help take robotic mowers into the mainstream. It eliminates some of the complexity of robot mowers and comes from what's arguably the best-known name in household robotics. There's no guarantee it'll succeed, especially when pricing remains an unknown, but it stands a better chance than most.