In this article, ComNav Technology explains how its cost-effective and highly flexible GNSS solution for robotic mowers offers advantages for customers needing a reliable solution that requires zero operational input.
The use of GNSS technology in robotic mowers has emerged as a way to optimize mowing efficiency and accuracy. Historically, robotic mowers operated autonomously using the local CORS or self built CORS are of high cost and continuous maintenance input. With ComNav Technology’s current robotic mower solution, users can benefit from a reliable, high precision service easily that is cost saving and involves no operational input.
- Less accuracy and reliability in challenging conditions
One of the greatest challenge is accuracy and signal reliability, particularly in areas with poor satellite coverage or in areas with dense tree cover. These issues can impact the ability of GNSS technology to accurately guide the lawnmower and may require additional technology to be incorporated into the system to compensate for these challenges.
- High operational and maintenance cost
Another key challenge is the cost of implementing GNSS technology into lawnmowers. Even though the cost of hardware has decreased significantly in recent years, the operational input like subscription fees to CORS network definitely increase the overall cost of the robotic mower, making it less accessible to consumers.
- Strictly regulated radio frequencies across regions
There is also the challenge of regulatory compliance. Some areas have strict regulations around the use of radio frequencies and power. Lawmakers are concerned about potential interference with other communication systems.
RTK is one of the most popular methods to deliver centimeter-accurate positioning in robotic mower solutions. End users can acquire correction data from a single base, local or self-built CORS. However, it is limited in wide use due to continuous investment and less accessibility to all users. When you build your own CORS, the initial input is not affordable. The ComNav team sought to put forward a solution that is less expensive and has higher flexibility and reliability in terms of investment and performance.
The main hardware of a robotic mower solution consists of a U702 datalink module, 803S GNSS module and LoRa GNSS combination antenna, involving the whole process from satellite signal reception, differential data broadcasting and reception and RTK positioning data output.
- Reliable accuracy
Robotic mowers often operate in areas with poor GNSS signal coverage, such as regions with significant tree cover or corners. To ensure reliable accuracy in these situations, we employ the U702 LoRa data link module to receive correction data. This can reduce or delay the reception of RTK correction data, resulting in more stable RTK solutions. Furthermore, the U702 provides a more reliable connection to the RTK correction data source, reducing the risk of data dropouts or interruptions. As a result, this solution ensures centimeter-level accuracy in all conditions.
- Maximum flexibility
So far, there are still barriers in using different types of RTK data across regions. The U702 data link module ensures flexibility in terms of the type of RTK correction data that can be received. Therefore, this solution can be easily integrated into existing systems or added to current devices without any physical changes, making it ideal for users and working consistently across manufacturers of mowers in different regions.
- Cost effective
Historically, cost has been one of the key issues when using GNSS technology in robotic mowers. Backed up by years of GNSS technology experience, ComNav has successfully made it more affordable. Firstly, the hardware price is cheaper than traditional solutions. Secondly, by using the data link module as the correction data receiver instead of CORS, integrators can save costs in system updating and maintenance.
- Improved efficiency
Combined with controller, this high precision solution makes it possible to eliminate the cumbersome installation of boundary wires and random movements. It allows for the generation of a virtual lawn line, route planning, and obstacle avoidance, enabling small lawn mowers to be used for cutting large areas.