- Robin Autopilot and Graze are testing their robotic landscaping solutions at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, which has over 14,000 acres of grass.
- Robin Autopilot will combine its robotic lawn mowing and landscaping platform with Graze’s fleet of fully autonomous commercial lawn mowers.
- Graze plans to open an office near DFW later this year to work with airports and golf courses in the region.
From tree care to snow removal, safety and proper maintenance can increase the value of a landscape by anywhere between 15% to 20% or more, according to the National Association of Landscape Professionals. That involves hiring the right team, from arborists to lawn care technicians, architects to irrigation specialists. However, facilities managers are contending with a tight labor market and workforce disruptions such as crews not showing up as scheduled, and a lack of clarity around when and who will be on site, according to BrightView.
Amid wage increases, it has also become costlier to maintain building and campus grounds. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that mean hourly wages for first-line supervisors of landscaping, lawn service and groundskeeping workers increased by about $1.15 to $25.84 in May 2022 from May 2021 levels. And mean hourly wages for landscaping and groundskeeping workers overall rose by roughly a dollar to $18.22 in 2022.
Against that backdrop, facilities managers are giving more credence to eco-friendly robots and collaborative robots or “cobots” that can be dropped off to mow lawns on their own.
McKinney, Texas-based Robin Autopilot is a lawn care service that provides robotic mowing and landscaping services for commercial and residential landscapes. Its solutions include a robotics-as-a-service technology that enables clients in the landscaping and lawn maintenance industry to develop eco-friendly, cost-effective and labor-saving solutions for landscapes. Equipment manufacturers that the company has partnered with include Graze, Husqvarna, Echo, NexMow and Spider.
Los Angeles-based Graze provides autonomous electric mowers designed for airports, golf courses, parks, government facilities and properties with high-security requirements. The company said its mowers offer better quality than gasoline-powered ones and can boost profitability, cut expenses, improve the safety of landscaping operations and help companies meet their sustainability goals.
Logan Fahey, chairman of Robin Autopilot and CEO of Graze, said a multi-manufacturer initiative Robin Autopilot launched at DFW in June has yielded promising results. The initiative, in collaboration with Graze and Husqvarna, involved the rollout of a landscaping maintenance program across the DFW airport’s campus, spanning its corporate headquarters, Founders Plaza and a number of dams. Graze and Husqvarna mowers tested “extremely well in both effectiveness and efficiency for the project,” Fahey said in the release.
Fahey, formerly CEO of Robin Autopilot, was appointed as Graze’s top chief earlier in July. He expressed excitement about the possibility of expanding this initiative to serve enterprise-level customers in the autonomous mowing industry across Texas.