Honda announced it will display a prototype electric autonomous mower at the upcoming Equip Expo. Called the Autonomous Work Mower (AWM), this is Honda’s first battery-powered electric zero-turn riding (ZTR) mower. You can watch a demonstration video of the Honda AWM.
Honda said it worked with a U.S.-based commercial landscape company to field test a concept version of the Autonomous Work Mower. To further advance the prototype AWM’s development, in 2024, Honda will begin a pilot program and is seeking companies to participate in assessing the AWM’s applicability to their work environments. Honda is inviting interested companies to visit Honda’s Equip Exposition indoor booth #3134, or contact Honda at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The manufacturer says its prototype mower combines industry leading cutting performance and operator comfort with high location accuracy and obstacle detection. The mower can be operated in manual or autonomous mode. When manually operated, the Honda AWM learns the mowing routes and patterns set by the operator. In autonomous operation, the AWM reproduces these routes and patterns. The all-electric AWM supports Honda’s global goal of achieving carbon neutrality – net zero emissions – for all products and corporate activities by 2050.
“Our development of the prototype zero-turn Honda Autonomous Work Mower comes at a time when technology is shaping the future of the landscaping industry,” said Hirokazu Hara, vice president of New Business Development, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. “To address labor shortages and help support companies’ sustainability goals, the Honda AWM aims to provide zero-emission alternatives to gasoline-powered mowers that can reduce operating costs and help accelerate the electrification of landscape maintenance equipment.”
How It Works
A “Teaching” mode enables the operator to set up autonomous operation, by manually maneuvering the ZTR AWM to create a mowing route map using Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) for accurate location recognition. The AWM learns the operator’s mowing route and patterns in “Teaching” mode. An advantage of the AWM is that it will learn the entire worksite, allowing for high-quality lawn striping, position accuracy and safe operation. The operator can create different mowing route maps customized for multiple job sites, which are then saved to a secure cloud server.
After the “Teaching” mode is complete, the operator launches the AWM’s autonomous operation in “Playback” mode. With the AWM in the starting position, the operator downloads the specified mowing route map using a tablet or smartphone. The AWM then begins autonomous operation and mows according to the map route, providing consistent and stable grass-cutting quality. While the AWM autonomously mows, the operator gains time to maintain other areas of the property which can lead to improved efficiencies.
Equipped with a traction control system, the Honda AWM is capable of maintaining straight tracking on hills and rough terrain. Its differential two-motor traction control suppresses tire slip to achieve stable straight-line and turning performance even on slopes and rough roads.
The AWM has several built-in safety features, including omnidirectional sensing as well as radar and LiDAR sensors for obstacle detection. It also can sense terrain variations and stop when encountering obstacles. With vehicle speed-linked blade motor control, the AWM automatically reduces blade rotation at low speeds and low loads to reduce power consumption. At high loads, the AWM automatically reduces its speed to prevent grass clogging and uncut grass.
New Electric Powerplant
Honda will show other power equipment at Equip Expo, including its eGX electric powerplant. Honda designed this lithium-ion battery-powered engine in a similar size and shape as its GX gas-powered engines for mounting compatibility. This is Honda’s first electrified power unit and it’s designed for use in commercial OEM power equipment products for both indoor work environments and construction work near residential areas where lower noise is an important factor. The eGX has a three-phase brushless DC motor and the lithium-ion battery pack uses 18650-sized cells. Honda says it designed the engine to meet the performance output of a conventional GX100 or GX120 engine.
Honda’s list of new products also includes generators, pumps, and snowblowers.