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Husqvarna Auto Mower

Bruce Goldman
From the Print Edition:
Cuban Models, May/June 03

You settle into your hammock, a cigar in one hand, a highball in the other. Across the street, your neighbor is toiling away, sweat dripping down his brow. You're both performing the same task: mowing the lawn.

But, while the other fellow is shoving a heavy machine, you let a trusty pint-sized creature scurry around the yard under its own power. The green, plastic Husqvarna Auto Mower, a cross between a small bumper car and an oversized computer mouse, is the only lawn-cutting device that keeps your grass as manicured as Augusta without your even having to be there.

Other robotic lawn mowers need to be started and have their batteries recharged. The Auto Mower will automatically roust itself and cut your grass, even if you're out on the golf course or enjoying a night on the town. You program the built-in microprocessor to cut the lawn when you want it to and the Auto Mower is on its own, even returning to a docking station to recharge the battery when the juice runs low.

A perimeter wire keeps the mover within your lawn and a recharging loop helps it find the docking station. The low-voltage wire, either stapled atop the ground or buried, should be professionally installed ($150 to $250). Then you program the cutting time on the mower's keyboard, and you're set.

The 15.6-pound, 10.3-inch-high mower, which cuts in a random pattern, operates for about 90 minutes, then scoots to the docking station to recharge, which takes another 90 minutes. Collision sensors detect objects and steer the mower in a different direction after bumping them. Another sensor immediately stops the blade if the machine is lifted or tilted. A security alarm helps deter would-be thieves.

And, unlike those Neanderthal neighbors still pushing or riding their gas-guzzlers, you can't be accused of polluting the air or puncturing eardrums. The Husqvarna emits zero emissions, relying on the equivalent of a 60-watt light bulb to operate, and is virtually silent. In addition, the finely mulched clippings help replenish the soil.

The $1,500 mower runs in the rain, handles lawns of up to half an acre and can manage slopes of less than 20 degrees.

Visit www.husqvarna.com or call 800-HUSKY-62.

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