'Robot' lawnmowers will soon be cutting the grass around Sidmouth
PUBLISHED: 15:30 01 February 2019
A small fleet of ‘robot’ lawnmowers could soon be cutting sites in Sidmouth as part of a futuristic trial by East Devon District Council (EDDC).
The authority is looking at rolling out the autonomous mowers, which will cost between £2,000 and £15,000 each, around April this year.
The bid for the mower trial has been included in a budget proposal recommended for approval by EDDC’s capital strategy and allocation group.
EDDC’s cabinet and overview and scrutiny committee have already approved the budgets and they will now go to full council on February 27.
If approved, EDDC will have the budget for the trial.
An EDDC spokesman said: “If the trial is a success, which will be gauged after a year and reported back to cabinet, we would be looking to submit a capital bid to purchase more robot mowers for sites, which were appropriate.
“It is too early to say what the scale of this would be.”
The authority says it is still assessing which models it will be using.
The spokeswoman added: “We are looking at equipment from Husquavana, Big Mow and Abrogio.
We anticipate using the larger models from the last two manufacturers due to the size of sites being cut.”
Sidford Recreation Ground and The Byes in Sidmouth are included in the sites earmarked for the mowers to work on, but the council says it still assessing suitable areas.
Other areas in Exmouth and Honiton have been pinpointed.
The council added that it hopes the trial would make savings between 15 and 25 per cent.
The spokesman said: “The savings come from fuel, consumables and staff time as well as reductions in fertilisers and weed killers.
“The point of the trial is to assess the actual possible level of savings before potentially rolling these out to all sites of an appropriate size and topography.”
The robot mowers come with their own security systems to tackle vandalism. The robots have GPS and alert the user if they are moved, taken or tampered with. They also have systems to stop them if they knock into things.
The spokesman added: “With all the manufacturers we have spoken to there have been no reported thefts and no cases of significant vandalism.”