Note to reader: If you’ve seen so many sci-fi movies films that the thought of robots equipped with sharp blades sends a chill down your spine, then this may not be the blog for you (the same applies if you’re a parent trying to make sure your teenager stays busy with weekly chores).
However, if you’re interested in learning about the growing world of lawn and garden robots, read on. Because like it or not, they are increasingly common and becoming more popular every year.
Although the US market for lawn and garden robots is substantially smaller than that of Europe (where generally smaller lawn sizes have supported rapid demand growth for robotic lawn mowers in recent years), it’s expected to more than double in value from 2018 to 2022, reaching $95 million. A number of companies are already active in the US market, including major conventional power lawn and garden equipment manufacturers like Husqvarna and MTD Products.
Additionally, new players – including both start-ups and larger firms – are working to develop products and commercialize them in the developing US market. Given that the US power lawn and garden market is the largest in the world, demand opportunities for lawn and garden robots are substantial.
With that in mind, here are a few rising lawn and garden robot companies to watch in the years to come.
1. Franklin Robotics
Franklin Robotics is a Massachusetts-based start-up that is developing Tertill, a solar-powered weeding robot. The company completed a successful crowdfunding run on Kickstarter and Indiegogo in 2017, and is currently progressing Tertill toward commercial availability. In September 2018, Franklin Robotics began shipping units out to backers of the crowdfunding campaign.
In April 2018, Husqvarna acquired a 25% stake in Franklin Robotics. The acquisition provided Franklin Robotics with capital and the capabilities of Husqvarna, which will help in the commercialization of Tertill. In return, the transaction expands Husqvarna’s robotic portfolio at a time when robots look to be the next big thing.
iRobot, a leader in the household robotics industry, is best known for its development and production of Roomba, the popular vacuum-cleaning robot.
In January 2019, the company expanded its robotic repertoire, announcing the development of a robotic lawn mower called Terra, which is engineered to navigate yards via stakes that emit radio signals. This differs from most other robot lawn mowers currently available, which use a boundary wire staked to or buried in the ground to navigate the yard. In addition to an easier installation process, the Terra will benefit from iRobot’s brand-name recognition and experience developing Roomba once it begins selling its robotic lawn mowers more widely. The company plans for the robot to be immediately available for sale in Germany, with a beta program in the U.S. slated for 2019.
The company was previously involved in the power lawn and garden sector through the production of Looj, a gutter-cleaning robot that featured remote-control operation, as well as some autonomous function. However, iRobot discontinued Looj in 2017.
3. LG Electronics
Similar to iRobot, LG will be able to leverage its high brand recognition to lend credibility to its in-development robotic lawn mower. In August 2017, the company demonstrated a prototype of the product at the IFA trade show in Berlin, Germany. The robot will use a combination of boundary wire and GPS to navigate, with the GPS system signaling to the mower which parts of the yard still need attention and the boundary wire designating the overall mowing area.
In September 2018, LG took further steps toward commercial production by announcing plans to construct a special facility to test its robotic lawn mower and work with other leaders in the robotic lawn mower industry. Both moves indicate that LG is continuing to progress in its product development and should be player to watch in the future.
4. The Kobi Company
The Kobi Company is currently developing a multifunctional robot called Kobi, which comprises a base unit and multiple modules. This robot can mow lawns, blow snow, and clear leaves, depending on which attachment is used. Kobi operates without the use of boundary wire, navigating via a GPS- and sensor-based system. It also features broad connectivity options, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or mobile data.
Its advanced navigation system and diverse functionality set Kobi apart from single-purpose lawn and garden robots. As a result, once the product becomes commercially available, it is expected to immediately compete for market position.
For More Information
These companies and others are expected to continue to take steps to seize growth opportunities in the US lawn and garden robot market. To learn more about leading players (and a host of other insights) check out The Freedonia Group’s recent industry study, Lawn and Garden Robots, which offers:
- historical data and forecasts
- demand for lawn and garden robots by major product type
- analysis of growth opportunities and the factors affecting demand
- profiles and analysis of industry players
- consumer survey data
About the Author:
Dan Debelius is an Industry Analyst at The Freedonia Group, where he writes industry studies on the consumer and commercial goods markets.