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Naperville, Ill., Company Launches Robot Lawn Mowers

A Naperville entrepreneur says that his technology can help mow down the amount of harmful emissions that are churned out in the commercial landscaping industry through the use of robot mowers.

Sprinkler watering lawn
(TNS) — A Naperville entrepreneur says his technology can help mow down the amount of harmful emissions churned out in the commercial landscaping industry through the use of robot mowers.

Ilya Sagalovich's Naperville-based Havenshine Technologies is showing how an autonomous, commercial-grade electric lawn mower can provide a safe, clean and cost-saving alternative for landscaping companies and government entities that maintain large open fields.

Sagalovich said electric mowers make sense for the environment because they don't pollute the air with contaminants or cause greenhouse gas emissions.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, gas-powered mowers account for 5% of total air pollution in the United States, and one push mower emits as much pollution per hour as 11 cars and a riding mower as much as 34 cars.

Sagalovich said because the price of electric mowers is still so steep, most landscapers choose not to adopt.

"Our goal is to make it inexpensive and easy for professional landscapers and produce a sustainable, eco-friendly solution," he said.

Sagalovich explained that Havenshine Technologies does not produce the lawn mowers, but provides the software that allows Mean Green electric mowers, made in Ohio, to run autonomously in a designated mapped out area, under the supervision of a human who has a kill switch to stop the mower at anytime.

The savings in time and money comes, he said, when multiple mowers run autonomously at same time.

One person would mow manually while three or four other machines work in the area in tandem, Sagalovich said.

This week Havenshine Technologies partnered with the nonprofit coalition Chicago Area Clean Cities, or CACC, to demonstrate to landscapers and representatives from park districts and the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County how autonomous electric mowers might work in their organization.

Those attending the demonstration raised questions about how the autonomous mowers deal with objects in the way.

Sagalovich said the robotic mowers have the ability to maneuver around permanent structures such as buildings, trees and sewer covers when they are added to the mower's internal GPS mapping that provides an accurate location down to one centimeter.

Sensors around the mower, he said, will cause it to stop when people, pets or other objects not designated in the map come in its path. The mower will not move until the obstruction is out of the way or the person supervising authorizes the mower to continue, he said.

It also stops, Sagalovich said, if it gets out of range of its human supervisor.

Director of Parks Tim Quigley said he and members of the Naperville Park District attended the demonstration this week to learn about the technology to help determine if it might fit into park maintenance plans at some point in the future.

"As a park district, eco-friendly alternatives are always appealing," Quigley said.

He added that the district struggled this summer to fill temporary mowing jobs and autonomous mowers could be a means of getting the grass clipped in a timely fashion if summer personnel problems continue.

Beyond environmental and staffing factors, autonomous mowers can run day or night as long as at least one person keeps watch over the process, Sagalovich said.

Night operations would benefit golf courses or sports fields that often are occupied from dawn to dusk during warmer months, said John Walton, chairman of the Clean Cities executive board.

Joe Koenig, spokesman for Chicago Area Clean Cities, said as a nonprofit coalition, the group is focused on promoting clean transportation in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

"We've been working with businesses and government agencies for nearly 30 years to help them transition their vehicle fleets to sustainable transportation," Koenig said.

© 2022 the Naperville Sun (Naperville, Ill.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.