IRobot announced Terra three years ago this week. After making some tough internal decisions to delay the launch to 2020, the robotic lawnmower is still MIA. For those with a lot of grass and a lot less time, there are still plenty of robotic lawnmowers out there, both on the commercial and consumer side of the aisle.
Electric Sheep Robotics’ (yes, yes, Philip K. Dick, et al.) approach to space is somewhat new, however — similar to what Bear Flag Robotics (owned by John Deere) is doing for tractors. Dexter, reaching general availability todaymodernizes new and existing commercial cutters with autonomous capability.
Once installed, users drive the system through a standard cutting path once to train it. From there, the system relies on a variety of built-in sensors, including lidar, cameras, and GPS, to navigate and avoid collisions. Dexter is now available to landscapers through a RaaS (robotics as a system) model – effectively allowing them to rent it out, rather than paying for it directly.
CEO Naganand Murty took the opportunity to note that, well, there’s a lot of grass covering the United States:
More land and water is devoted to lawns than to wheat and corn combined, and more than 40 million acres of land in the US have some form of lawn. $20 billion is allocated annually just to cut grass. Solutions like Electric Sheep’s Dexter robot are helping our customers meet demand and better allocate their already scarce workforce.
Alongside general availability, the company is also announcing a sizable Series A worth $21.5 million, bringing its total funding to $25.7 million to date. The round was led by Tiger Global (who else?), with participation from Foundation Capital, which led the Bay Area company’s $4 million seed.