Tiger Woods and Keegan Bradley aren't the only ones on display today at the Honda Classic.
The Honda Miimo, a robotic lawn mower, is in use at the PGA Tour event this week at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Miimo, Honda's first commercial robotic product for domestic use, is being put to work between the 10th and 18th fairways, where it is cutting grass for spectators. Currently, Miimo is sold only in Europe.
Honda says Miimo operates a continuous cutting system, typically mowing about 0.12 inches of grass at a time several times weekly. It cuts in random pattern, a technique, Honda says, that results in less stress on grass, more healthy growth and reduced moss and weeds. The clippings it creates are minuscule and easily dispersed into the lawn root system, breaking down quickly to act as a natural fertilizer.
Also, Miimo features three independent 360-degree sensors that detect solid contacts between the unit and any obstacles. If a sensor is activated, the lawn mower will stop, turn, and move in a different direction from the point of contact. Both safety and security during use are assured, Honda says, by two additional sensors that are triggered to shut down the lawn mower in the event Miimo leaves the ground. In addition, an alarm sounds, and the product cannot be used until the owner inputs a unique PIN. Miimo comes in two models: 300 and 500. The latter can mow a lawn up to 32,000 square feet.
Will Miimo make it to the U.S.? Honda says it is investigating whether to bring it overseas to America. Events such as the Honda Classic are being used as a testing ground to compile feedback on Miimo.
As for how the name Miimo evolved, Honda says it was developed as an original name based upon market research.