Robocrop: remote-controlled lawnmowers deployed in Capital parks

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FUTURISTIC robotic lawnmowers are set to be deployed across the Capital in a high-tech solution to maintaining parks.

The five-month pilot scheme by the city council will see the remote-controlled drones trialled in in a handful of sites.

The eco-friendly robots will be trialled at sites across the city

The eco-friendly robots will be trialled at sites across the city

Bosses hope the machines will save money - while allowing human workers to concentrate on other gardening tasks.

“Edinburgh has a proud reputation for its green spaces and our parks team work tirelessly to ensure their regular upkeep,” said parks manager David Jamieson.

“By testing technology like robotic and remote-controlled lawn mowers we hope to explore new ways of improving the efficiency of the service even further to the benefit of the city’s landscape.

“What’s more, the trial will help us to consider the positive impact more environmentally-friendly equipment can have, so I look forward to its findings.”

Inbuilt sensors will collect data on air quality

Inbuilt sensors will collect data on air quality

The waterproof robotic botanists offer better safety on steep grass verges and are run on eco-friendly batteries which also reduce noise and vibration.

Trial locations include Longstone Primary School, Mortonhall Cemetery and Princes Street Gardens West, with machines able to cut around-the-clock.

The sites are part of an international pilot by toolmaker Husqvarna with data scientists Quantified Planet.

“One of the biggest roadblocks to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is the lack of data,” said Husqvarna UK professional manager Kevin Ashmore.

“Cities, like Edinburgh, need better environmental data to improve health and create cities people want to live in.

“Edinburgh has been extremely accommodating and open to exploring how using robotic technology can have an enormous impact both environmentally and in terms of productivity.

“The technology also allows us to monitor the impact and after the first stage of the trial we will be able to measure, through the sensors, the total impact on the environment.”

Testing is hoped to enable Husqvarna to gauge demand for the mowers while allowing council chiefs to consider its own use of similar technology.

Inbuilt sensors will track and collect information on air quality, water, light and sound to be number crunched by data specialists at Sweden-based Quantified Planet.

Their report is expected to help council bosses better understand the city’s microclimates, the impact of air pollution and how battery-operated lawn mowers could reduce carbon emissions.

The mowers are operated using a special smartphone app, are pin-protected and fitted with alarms and technology to disable - should they be targeted by thieves.

Fitted safety sensors detect any nearby objects, including people and animals, causing machines to turn away.

Edinburgh is one of seven globals cities testing the technology - along with London, Stockholm and San Francisco among others.

“The aim of this project is to help Edinburgh and other cities around the world support this mission,” said Mr Ashmore.