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Helping the robots to sustain urban parks

Wireless devices collect data about the environment such as air and water quality and levels of light and sound as the grass is cut

Edinburgh is one of the cities taking part in the robotic mower pilot programme
Edinburgh is one of the cities taking part in the robotic mower pilot programme

Outdoor power products producer, Husqvarna, is using a wireless sensor device co-developed by Internet of Things (IoT) enabler Telit and Swedish design house, Wireless System Integration (WSI), to help ensure the sustainability of urban parks.


The project is part of Husqvarna’s city robotic mower pilot programme, a collaboration with Quantified Planet, an organisation that links innovation to science. Seven cities around the globe -- Edinburgh and London in the UK, Gothenburg and Stockholm in Sweden, Almere and Leeuwarden in the Netherlands and San Francisco in the US -- will use the sensor-equipped Husqvarna mowers.


The cities will collect data about the environment, the quality of air, water, and levels of light and sound, while maintaining their green spaces, saving time and money, reducing emission and noise pollution.


The mowers cut the grass daily, within a boundary wire, rain or shine, keeping the grass cut and collecting data 24 hours a day from the sensors. The sensors collect real-time data on UV radiation, air quality, ambient noise, luminosity and vibration.


The sensor box designed by Telit is a first for the industry. It is mounted on top of the mowers, and uses the robots’ main battery for power supply, thereby recharging whenever the robot returns to its base. The sensor box transmits the data using Telit’s HE910 cellular module and Telit’s global IoT connectivity data plans (MVNO). The Telit IoT platform seamlessly connects, manages and delivers the environmental data in a ready-to-use format.


Quantified Planet then receives the data and publishes it for citizens to review. The cities can then analyse the environmental data sent by the robots and implement programmes to improve the health of its citizens, based on these insights.


"Collecting this city data gives researchers the opportunity to explore and research the health of urban public spaces in a way that has never been done before,” said Maja Brisvall, CEO, Quantified Planet. “By using the Quantified Planet data exploration platform, this new data can provide insights and innovation on how to develop and improve sustainable open green spaces which impact the citizens living nearby.”


Pavel Hajman, president of the Husqvarna Division, said the need for green spaces is growing more and more in urban areas. “It is inspiring to think about how parks in cities will be maintained in the future,” he said. “I am excited about the pilot programme, learning more about the possibility to increase sustainability and productivity in professional landscaping for urban areas.”


Yosi Fait, interim CEO, Telit said Husqvarna’s city mower programme is an example of how cities are using IoT to become more sustainable and efficient. He added: "According to the United Nations, 66 per cent of the world’s population will be living in urban areas by 2050, creating sustainability challenges for cities to manage.


“Cities that are already using IoT are building the infrastructure to manage their assets and relationships with their citizens."


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