FCC Approves iRobot Automatic Lawnmower

iRobot, maker of robots that vacuum your carpets and scrub your toilets, wants to bring this same technology to your lawn. The lawn? Yes, humanity might hand over yet another of our annoying chores to our robot pals. While automatic lawn mowers are nothing new, iRobot’s version is. Maybe they can popularize the devices, which haven’t really caught on in this country.

The products already on the market aren’t cheap: the list price of the wonderfully-named Robomow is $1,200, for example.

The Federal Communications Commission was involved because the mower uses radio beacons to figure out the boundaries of your lawn, which the FCC had to ensure wouldn’t interfere with any other wireless equipment.

The main entity that objected was the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, which had concerns about the mower beacons interfering with its equipment. The FCC concluded that the beacons are tiny and small enough that they won’t interfere with the observatory’s giant radio telescopes.

iRobot hasn’t announced yet when the mowers will hit the market or how much they might cost. However, if they use radio beacons at the corners of your lawn, they’ll be easier to set up, and iRobot can use its existing robot-marketing network to sell them.

iRobot’s robotic lawn mower gets U.S. regulatory approval [Reuters]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.