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A Remote Controlled Future
Radio Controlled Mowers Operate Well on Slopes


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Remote controlled landscape equipment is useful for maintenance of areas that are dangerous for regular equipment. A ride-on mower can topple on a steep slope and injure the operator; with radio-controlled equipment, the operator can be as far as 1,000 feet away from the mower, though this distance will vary by manufacturer.


In response to an increasing demand for increased safety and efficiency, manufacturers are introducing remote controlled power equipment.

Remote controls were first introduced in the 1890s, when inventors demonstrated a mirror moving a beam of light, a bell ringing at the push of a button that was not visibly connected to it, and a radio-controlled boat.

Today remote controlled devices are paired either via infrared, as in a television remote, or radio signals, as in a garage door opener.

Radio controlled lawnmowers are making inroads in the commercial landscape maintenance field, especially for mowing sloped areas and dangerous or hard-to-reach places.

A Safer Way to Mow
The primary benefit of a remote controlled mower is operator safety. In the short term, besides the prevention of rollover injuries, there is also less danger to the remote operator in areas where hidden wild animals might become startled, and thereby more prone to attack.

In the long term, the operator will be inhaling less exhaust fumes, and injuries from repeated exposure to vibrations while sitting on the machine are eliminated.

Operations
As with a television remote or a garage door opener, there is a range at which remote controlled lawnmowers can be operated.

Pavlina Novakova, marketing manager for Dvorak, producer of Spider mowers, recommends that the operator not be more than about 100 feet away from the mower. "That way, they can see any obstacles or holes on the terrain," she explained.

As with any other landscape equipment, training as well as an operating manual should be provided by the manufacturer or distributor. Each manufacturer is different, but most remote controlled mowers have the capability to mow on steeper slopes than manually operated mowers - even up to a 60-degree slope. Some mowers will need a winch to operate at this angle; most mowers can operate on slopes of 40 to 50 degrees without extra equipment.

Speaking of extra equipment, be on the lookout for attachments compatible with the remote controlled mower, such as snow blowers or stump grinders. (See page 36 for more on mower attachments.)

Looking Ahead
Technology advances day to day, and the landscape industry is no exception.

"In my opinion, the next step is remote control mowers with GPS navigation," said Novakova. "The world is more and more focused on health and safety products, and lowering labor and fuel consumption."

Alternative fuel sources are another possibility, and solar assisted mowers have already been introduced.

In addition to remote controlled lawnmowers, Roomba-like autonomous lawnmowers, some of which are battery operated, are cutting their way into widespread use in both residential and commercial settings.





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In the Czech Republic, four radio controlled Spider mowers created this 538,000 square foot "Mow-na Lisa" on a hillside with a 45-degree slope. It took two days to survey and map the hillside, using laser surveying technology, and one day to mow the pattern. Each machine, which can hold just over 4 gallons and use about a gallon of gas each hour, only needing to stop once to be refueled.



As seen in LC/DBM magazine, August 2017.






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