Innovator Series: The Future Is Robotics as a Service - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Innovator Series: The Future Is Robotics as a Service

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When Robin Autopilot started out in 2015, founders Justin Crandall and Bart Lomont used a ‘Uber-for-lawncare’ model for their traditional mowing services. However, due to labor gaps, they switched to robotic mowing and sold off the traditional business to

They launched a franchise model to expand the business in 2018. In 2019, they were purchased by Fahey Group and partners, who were one of the original franchise locations.

By 2020, Robin Autopilot transitioned to a software as a service (SaaS) model after receiving feedback that the franchise model was difficult and overly complex to add to an existing business. Through this model, landscapers utilize Robin’s software to deploy robots as a service (RaaS).

“RaaS allows consumers and corporate clients to take advantage of autonomous technology (and environmental impact) while not having to come up with the capital and not having to manage the system or ancillary services,” says Wayne Kreifels, VP of sales for Robin Autopilot.

Kreifels says that the RaaS is the best business model for robotic mowers as it allows them to sell the hardware and wrap their software around the robots they manage. Based on the subscription level, they’ll provide landscapers with tiered access to both proprietary and non-proprietary products.

“RaaS is built for the landscape professional to help with labor shortages and legislative innovation,” Kreifels says. “There are more and more homeowners now requesting robotic mowing over traditional…the grass is mowed every day, giving you that fresh-cut look. Robotic mowing is a way better value for the homeowner that has a RaaS service giving you seven days a week service versus one day a week.”

Kreifels says that what sets Robin Autopilot apart from other robotic mower technology on the market is they are the first and only multi-manufacturer fleet management system in the market.

“In addition, Robin holds various patents around robotic technology and hosts a suite of services including consulting/training, a wholesale marketplace and much more,” Kreifels says.

Some of these patents include robotic doors for fences and a wire break finder. They are currently working on a GPS puck that landscapers can use to track all of their equipment on Robin Autopilot’s Fleet Console, so it will be a seamless management and tracking system.

Currently, Robin Autopilot’s Fleet Console platform allows users to manage multi-manufacturers’ units, from collecting data to being able to control thousands of robots from one single console. It includes key features like the notification history for every robotic mower, maintenance tracking of wear items and efficient crew routing to all robots that need service.

Not all robotic mower brands offer a fleet service, but with Fleet Console, users can integrate all the brands that partner with Robin Autopilot. The platform includes Aviator, Robin’s in-house field service and CRM software, Husqvarna’s cloud-connected robotic lawn mowers, and Google Maps for routing.

Robin Autopilot plans to publish a programming interface to support the integration of the next generation of commercial autonomous lawn mowers from manufacturers like Greenzie, NextMow and Echo as well.

Earlier this year, Robin Autopilot teamed up with Lawn Buddy to fully integrate their fleet management system. Now with Lawn Buddy app, users can track robotic mowers and connect to Lawn Shop for wholesale prices for repair parts.

As for where they see the robotic mower technology heading next, Kreifels says true AI will come into play soon.

“It’s amazing to watch how fast the technology has been changing the past couple of years,” he says.

This article was published in the July/August issue of the magazine. To read more stories from The Edge magazine, click here to subscribe to the digital edition.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.