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Honda’s self-driving solution — for your yard

Larry Edsall
Special to The Detroit News

When I moved from Michigan to Arizona, I gave away my snowblower and my lawn mower. We see snow in Phoenix maybe once every five years, and even then it’s just a dusting that quickly disappears.

Miimo’s stylish cover includes solid-object detectors so it changes direction as needed.

As far as a yard, I’ve never enjoyed cutting grass. For one thing, I hated the thought that as soon as I cut them, each blade immediately started growing behind me, so I knew I’d have to repeat the act next week.

But living in Arizona, we have the option of xeriscape, replacing grass that needs watering with rocks and gravel. Instead of leafy bushes and other water-thirsty plants, we landscape with cacti, trees and flowering plants native to the Sonoran Desert.

Honda takes the look of robot vacuum cleaners outside with the Miimo. Honda says the mower runs quietly, recharges quickly and has a programmable timer sot it can cut while you’re away.

All that to get to this: Starting this summer, Honda will offer a sleek new and — get this — self-driving vehicle for cutting your lawn. It’s called Miimo.

“Honda Power Equipment’s Miimo lawn mower delivers a beautiful lawn without homeowners having to physically cut their grass,” Michael Rudolph, vice president of Georgia-based Honda Power Equipment, said in announcing the new device.

“For customers who want to be on the cutting edge of technology, have busy lifestyles and don’t have the time for lawn care, or for customers who don’t enjoy cutting the grass, Miimo is the high-tech approach to achieving a beautiful yard,” he added.

So what is a Miimo? Well, you know how there are vacuum cleaners that roll around your carpet on their own, and you know how there are dog collars that respond to a wire buried in your yard to keep your dog from wandering, right? As I understand it, Miimo, a robotic lawn mower, applies similar technologies to cutting your grass.

Miimo is an electric mower with three cutting modes — random, directional and mixed. You also can opt for a spiral or edge setting as needed.

“Honda’s Miimo robotic lawn mower can tackle virtually any type and shape of lawn, including slopes as steep as 25 degrees,” Honda said in its announcement. “Honda’s robotic mower also navigates smoothly around features like ponds, fences and trees.

The mower has cutting width of 8.7 inches and a cutting height range of .8 inches to 2.4 inches.

Honda says that Miimo runs quietly and recharges quickly. It even has a programmable timer so your grass can be cut, say, while you’re at work — or out playing golf on grass that someone else has to cut.

Miimo’s cover even has sensors to detect solid objects. “If a sensor is activated, the lawn mower is designed to stop (when it touches a human or pet, for example) turn, and move in a different direction from the point of contact,” Honda said.

In addition, Miimo is equipped with anti-theft protection that will sound an alarm and disengage operation if the mower is lifted from the ground. The unit can only be re-started once the owner enters a PIN code.

Miimo will be available in two models — HRM 310 and HRM 520. Suggested retail prices are $2,499 for the 310 and the $2,799 for the 520. Buy either and a technician from the dealership will come to your house and install the boundary wire and docking station.

Larry Edsall is a Phoenix-based freelance writer. You can reach him at ledsall@cox.net.