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Is Time Right For Robotic Mower?

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, June 5, 2002

Is the time right to have a robot mow your lawn? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The price of the robotic lawn mower made by Israeli based Friendly Robotics has been cut down to size. Just five hundred dollars... .about half of what the price was a year ago. Toro has a branded model... and Friendly Robotics has its own... sold in gadget stores and online at place like Smarthome.com. Smarthome's Leo Soderman...

"The idea with this is you actually bury along the edges of the yard, a small wire. And the lawn mower, once you turn it on... it's electric, it will run down until it reaches where it senses the wire in the ground. At that point it knows it needs to turn and it will stay within your yard. By using the wire you can actually set up the perimeter of the area that you want it to mow so it'll go around flower beds and basically dad can sit back in the hammock and watch the mower run itself."

The rechargeable batteries may not be able to handle more than a quarter of an acre at a time but our research indicates most consumers who've purchased one... are pretty satisfied. One note of caution... the U.S. arm of Friendly Robotics filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy not long ago. But the parent company says it remains strong and recently signed a deal with Hoover to partner on a robotic vacuum cleaner. So far, sales of the robotic lawn mowers haven't lived up to expectations... but with the 500 dollar price... just in time for Father's Day... .maybe it will finally cut it. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.