Large grass landscape

Autonomous Mowing with Intel® RealSense™ and Greenzie

As anyone who has ever worked in a yard or garden can agree, landscaping is hard work. Summer months spent in long hours of physical labor in the sun is a career choice that many today are deciding against. Unfortunately, while this labor shortage exists, so does our desire for beautiful plants, green spaces and landscaping. Greenzie is looking to solve some of these problems with their solution for large scale landscaping operations – autonomous lawn mowers.

What it is

Labor costs are high for most landscaping companies – workers are choosing higher paying jobs, and not careers in lawn care. This deficit in workers doesn’t mean there are less lawns to mow though. Greenzie’s technology adds self-driving to commercial mowers. An autonomous quality lawn mower allows workers to focus on other landscaping responsibilities. Before building this solution, Greenzie spent time talking to customers and analyzing what they do and how. Understanding customer needs for the same quality commercial mowers they already enjoyed, but with added automation was crucial.

Greenzie autonomous ;awnmower with Intel RealSense D455 cameras

Greenzie Lawnmower with Intel RealSense D455 cameras

How does it work?

Greenzie uses six Intel® RealSense™ D455 depth cameras to create a vision-based system with a 360 degree field of view. Some lawns have power poles, trees or other obstacles that the lawn mower has to avoid. The depth cameras allow the software to detect and avoid objects all around the mower. The Greenzie software is intelligent enough to be able to differentiate between unknown obstacles that it should stop for – like a person or other unexpected item – or known stationary obstacles like trees, that it can slow and automatically navigate around.

As part of their discussions with customers, Greenzie spent time understanding how a professional would assess a large lawn, first walking and understanding the perimeter of a space, then analyzing the terrain to determine the most efficient direction for the ‘stripes’ on the grass to go. The software performs similarly, allowing the landscaper to decide on the directions of stripes and then set the mower going. It makes as many as 200 calculations a second in order to understand how to adjust and keep the line straight, even though it is moving as fast as 7.5 miles per hour.

Greenzie Lawnmower with Intel RealSense D455 cameras

The depth cameras mounted around the lawn mower.

 

Safety is first

By using Intel RealSense Depth cameras, Greenzie can build systems that customers can trust. The cameras act as the mower’s eyes, and by using six for a full worldview, customers feel safer. Most of Greenzie’s customers are using the device autonomously while a human worker works nearby on another part of the lawn. The mowers can continue operating, but with fast and accurate detection, workers can trust that the mower will still detect them if they are anywhere near and stop or avoid them.

Cost efficiency

A Greenzie enabled mower with six Intel RealSense depth cameras and the software can cost as much as triple the cost of a similar non-autonomous commercial mower.  With the savings in efficiency and labor however, landscaping companies can bid on bigger jobs that they previously would have been unable to due to the labor shortages. For many landscapers, there is more grass that needs to be cut than people to do it. With Greenzie, they can solve that problem and allow their companies to grow without suffering from the labor shortage.

 

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