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14574Re: Consumer Reports Column

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  • beekilher
    Apr 2, 2008
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      There goes my resale value.
      Buzz!! Swat!! Splat!! The Beekilher

      --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "schultcj" <schultcj@...> wrote:
      >
      > Not too encouraging, I thought Ames was helping develop the testing
      > and help to make sure CR gave a fair review. See the text below
      from
      > the site, this can be accessed in the free section of the CR site.
      >
      > Has anyone heard of any accidents from the Lawnbott or Robomower?
      >
      > Robotic mowers: Close-up
      > We test two machines and find one Not Acceptable
      >
      > HIGH RISK The LawnBott must be lifted high before its blade
      > stops.Robotic mowers promise to save time and effort as they rove
      > within a perimeter wire that sets the mowing boundaries. But like
      > many robots in countless sci-fi movies, one of these robotic
      machines
      > poses a serious risk to those it would serve.
      >
      > We tested Friendly Robotics' $2,000 RoboMower RL1000 and LawnBott's
      > $2,500 LB3200 Evolution. Both crisscross randomly within their
      > boundaries, reversing direction when they reach the wire or an
      > obstacle and returning to their charging stations when needed. And
      > both use metal blades. When we lifted the 78-pound RoboMower while
      > mowing, its blades stopped roughly 1 second after its wheels left
      the
      > ground. But the blade on the 25-pound LawnBott robotic mower kept
      > spinning until we lifted it beyond roughly 45 degrees. Even after
      > that, its blade took nearly 4 seconds to stop. In our judgment,
      > either situation could harm an adult or a curious child.
      >
      > We contacted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and
      > asked it to investigate the LawnBott LB3200. We also contacted this
      > Italian-made robotic mower's U.S. distributor, which told us that a
      > downloadable software update stops the blade within 1 second after
      > this mower is lifted beyond about 35 degrees. But even if the blade
      > stops more quickly, according to the distributor, it won't stop
      until
      > you lift the mower beyond about 35 degrees. The distributor says
      that
      > feature allows the LawnBott to work on steeper slopes. We believe
      > that even with this update, the LawnBott LB3200 Evolution poses a
      > serious safety risk and have judged it Not Acceptable.
      >
      > Since 1983, all powered walk-behind mowers must protect hands and
      > feet by stopping the blades quickly after the operator releases a
      > handlebar deadman control, as part of a mandatory CPSC standard
      > Consumers Union helped develop. Ride-on machines stop their blades
      > when the operator leaves the seat as part of a voluntary industry
      > standard. Yet no such standard exists for robotic mowers. We
      believe
      > that all mowers should be required to meet effective safety
      standards.
      >
      > As for the RoboMower, its cut was unimpressive, and it sometimes
      got
      > stuck and didn't return to its charger. We also question the time-
      > saving claims. With both robotic mowers, you're warned to keep
      > children and pets away. RoboMower warns you to supervise its mowing—
      > advice we support for all robotic mowers. For a half-acre lawn,
      that
      > could mean 4 hours of supervising several times a week, compared
      with
      > about an hour a week of walking or sitting with a mower.
      >
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