A Robot That Mows, Sweeps, Weeds, Collects Leaves & Guards Sounds A Winner
A programmable robot that acts as a complete gardener and even takes family snaps will be shown off at Berlin’s IFA Technology Show.
Willow, by Belgium company Eeve, not only cuts your grass, it also collects leaves, guards your property, and can weed, if you attach robotic arms.
Unlike current robot mowers, you don’t have to install a perimeter fence. Instead Willow uses a camera and self-driving technology to navigate your lawn and garden. We trust Willow is savvy enough not to escape and motor down your neighbourhood road, given its untethered state.
Eeve’s Willow has been in market since 2022, but this year’s it’s making a splash among tech gadgets to be displayed at the Showstoppers event at IFA 2023.
“Even without robot experience, you can easily teach Willow to help you with repetitive or boring chores. Maintaining the garden, guarding your property, sweeping your patio, transporting goods, playing games or taking beautiful pictures at parties at your home.”
Such a write-up creates massive expectations as to what Willow actually can do; we’ll have to see whether hype matches reality. If half of its claimed functionality is true, Willow will give the likes of Worx, MoeBot, Husqvarna and Victa new functionality to aim for in the Australian market.
The other string to Willow’s bow is programmability. Eeve says owners can teach Willow new tricks with easy-to-use software called StarLight. “Teach her to take a daily photo at a specific location in the garden or how to navigate a narrow path.”
Eeve says Willow dodges animals, humans, trees, flowers and plants, obstacles such as trampolines, toys and gardening equipment, does not mow when it rains, and communicates via Wi-Fi. You monitor and control Willow from a console.
Willow doesn’t need a perimeter fence, but you can buy StarLight “beacons” or 3D-print your own and place them in locations where Willow might need special guidance.
A robot of that size would be capable of mowing, but whether Willow has the power to lift or to pull out stubborn weeds is another matter. Let’s hope Willow’s AI camera technology is good enough to distinguish between garden weeds and your prized orchids.
I’d want to test it thoroughly before putting any money down. Nevertheless, it does herald a coming age of gardener robots which will be fascinating to watch.
Willow is costly. It sells for 2990 euros ($5029) and Willow Pro for 3690 euros (A$6207). You will need to buy accessories for added functionality. Eeve says there is a considerable waiting list.