Wireless Robotic Lawn Mower (RLM) System: iRobot Request For Waiver Granted By FCC


A battery operated self-propelled lawn mower uses multiple, portable beacons, strategically placed on a lawn to map the designated mowing area. The beacons send transmissions to the RLM system, defining what boundaries the mower operates within.

A petition was granted by the FCC waiving its rules, permitting the iRobot Corporation to deploy their wirelessly operated robotic lawn mower (RLM) system. The robotic lawn mower system will operate within the bands assigned to unlicensed wideband systems.

iRobot filed a petition requesting a waiver of FCC rules relevant to the unlicensed operation in the frequency range of 6.240-6.740 GHz. The petition was met with an objection from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), who utilizes the same spectrum. The NRAO had concerns of interference with its efforts to study methanol in space (methanol can indicate possible star forming activity).

In a compromise satisfying both parties, the FCC granted iRobot’s petition for the waiver with restrictions. The system may only be intended for residential use, and the transmitting beacons may only be 24 inches or less in height, making them incapable of communicating with other devices. Because the planned use of transmitters point horizontally at a low to the ground position, it was decided that they would cause little risk of interference to other unlicensed wideband services.

It is estimated by iRobot that 4-9 beacons would accommodate an average residential lawn. Only during the initial setup the beacon stakes will communicate with each other creating the area of lawn to be mowed. After the setup the stakes will only communicate with the robotic lawn mower. The system was created not to communicate with any other devices.

Article: “Amy Jones | HCTA”
Editor: “M. Danmole”
Image: “Stock Image”