The Denver Post reports that local firm Scythe Robotics is about to still mass producing robotic lawn mowers.
Longmont-based Scythe Robotics needs more space to handle about 7,000 reservations it has received for its automated robotic lawn mowers that landscaping contractors across the country are clamoring to get their hands on. . . .The company has built 20 of its robotic mowers and hopes to build another 200 of its fifth-generation model by the end of next year, Morrison said. Once it gets a 50,000-square-foot facility completed, it will be off to the races.“We are aiming to make 10,000 machines a year by that point, so we can satisfy demand,” Morrison said.Between manufacturing, engineering, sales and administrative positions, the company is looking to create 394 net new jobs paying an average annual wage of $116,881, which is 157% of the average for Boulder County. About half of those jobs will be in manufacturing. The company currently has 37 employees, including 28 in Colorado.Landscapers have long struggled to find enough workers willing to take on the physically demanding work. Many have relied on crews from Mexico and elsewhere, but bringing in seasonal workers on temporary visas has become much more difficult, and the pandemic didn’t help.Mowing robots offer a way to automate more mundane tasks so the fewer workers available can take on more interesting and specialized assignments. But the machines are complicated and require many more sensors, cameras and safeguards than those robotic vacuums free-roaming in homes. The consequences of their failure to recognize obstacles, whether it is a rabbit or a sprinkler head or bike path with heavy traffic, are more severe and potentially catastrophic.Even if the mowers could be built more cheaply overseas, they weigh 1,300 pounds, which makes shipping costs problematic.
This blog noted in 2016 that efforts to develop this technology were in the works and close to viable.
While seemingly a minor innovation, this, like self-driving trucks and robotic burger flipping machines, have the potential to profoundly disrupt the low skill job market.
Indeed, the firm will probably reduce net jobs in the state if its technology is widely adopted.