“Robots on roller shutters”: Why shouldn’t the iMow robotic mower – which is equipped with a rain sensor – one day be able to tell the in-home control system when a thunderstorm is approaching, so the control system can then close the roof windows? In principle, it will be possible; the necessary technology is already in the starting blocks.
STIHL is penetrating the wide field of smart gardening and already offers the option of connecting its robotic lawn mowers with smart home systems.
The use of autonomous robots is advisable for any heavy or tedious work – from the front garden to the football pitch. The sales figures confirm the increasing demand: Business with iMows is seeing particularly dynamic growth. This means robotic mowers will not have to wait all that long for active support – further autonomous and connected devices and products are already taking shape in the minds of STIHL developers. Digital tools along the value chain are also being considered. STIHL already makes it possible to digitally record trees in the forest today. Which means more clarity for rangers and hardly any search time for forest workers. Everyone knows exactly what needs to be done.
Idea creation and development in the field of “robotic green care” takes place across two STIHL locations, in Waiblingen and in Langkampfen (Austria), the headquarters of the center of excellence for ground-guided garden power tools. Relevant specialists for the specific project and focus come together from both locations, and other partners are also brought in. With this approach STIHL combines all the necessary resources to react quickly and flexibly to market needs with new products or services.
As promising as a prototype may be, it will only become an actual innovation if it stands up to real-world use. This is all the more true in the digital age. The biggest challenge in the high-tech industry is not just to develop mechatronic and digital solutions, but to thoroughly test the power tools in use.
Robotic systems consist of many hundreds of software modules and therefore many hundreds of input parameters. Add to this the mechanics that interact with the electronics, a wealth of sensors and hardware that has to protect everything: There is a high susceptibility to errors.
STIHL has one of the largest testing laboratories for outdoor electric and cordless products. Extreme load testing is also carried out in numerous sound-insulated booths. What’s more, the company employs well-trained test engineers who work closely with the developers on functions from the very beginning. There is actually a high tolerance for errors during the development phase, because errors are also understood as an important part of the learning process – and ultimately they contribute to delivering proven STIHL quality.