Canvas is a new entrant into the robot lawnmower market, designed and made by Seven Bridges Robot Inc. The key feature that sparked my interest in this robot lawn mower is the navigational system that doesn’t require installation of a perimeter wire.
For anyone who has previously installed a traditional robot lawnmower, you will know that one of the major negatives of current robot mowers is the need to spend a considerable amount of time carefully installing a perimeter wire, which the robot mower uses to detect the edge of the lawn.
Not only does this make installation laborious, but it also makes it more difficult to move the mower to a new lawn if you move house, or to adjust the layout of your lawn, as this involves moving and adjusting the perimeter wire.
Canvas solves these issues by using a combination of remote wireless beacons to provide GPS-like position tracking in your garden, as well as on-board position and navigation techniques to navigate your lawn with ease. You simply need to drive the mower around the lawn to mark out the edge, and then the mower will be able to navigate around the lawn, charging itself and continuing to mow your lawn fully autonomously.
The Next Evolution Of Robot Mowers
I’ve been using and testing robot lawnmowers for many years now, and can see how the need to install a perimeter wire around your lawn is one of the major technological challenges that is holding back faster growth in the robot lawnmower industry.
I am aware of several companies working on robot lawn mowers that use alternate technology to navigate your lawn. Companies are developing a variety of technologies, including GPS navigation and AI-assisted visual navigation, but commercial availability is not quite here yet.
These new technologies will mean a robot mower can be setup and working within minutes, instead of the hours that it can take when installing a perimeter wire.
Seven Bridges Robot Inc. contacted me a number of months ago and asked if I wished to test their model which is approaching the end of development and almost ready for mass production and sale. This was the first robot lawnmower I have been able to have hand-on time with that does not require the installation of a perimeter wire to navigate your lawn.
This article will cover my experience testing the Canvas robot mower and provide my thoughts on the positives and negatives of this product. I should point out that these are my impartial thoughts on this product and I have not received any payment or endorsement from Seven Bridges for this article.
- Area Capacity – 2500 sqm
- Area Capacity Per Hour – 150 sqm
- Cutting Height – 2-5cm
- Charging – Wireless charging
- Robot Battery Type – Li-Ion
- Robot Battery capacity – 18V/7.5Ah
- Typical Charging Time – 100 min
- Typical Mowing Time – 130 min
- Maximum Beacon Communication Distance – 100 meters
- Dimensions – 43 x 40 x 18cm
- Weight – 8kg
- Minimum Passage – 40cm
- Maximum Slope – 25 degrees
The canvas arrived well packaged, with everything I needed to get started in one box. Inside the box was the mower, a docking station, four positioning beacons, a charging cable and some instructions.
The Canvas was easy to install and took approximately 30 minutes. The first thing I did was to choose a location for the charging station, and linked it up to the power. I switched the mower on and put it in the charging station to ensure that it would be fully charged and ready to go after the installation was complete.
Next, I downloaded the Canvas app. This largely guided me through the rest of the setup, but the accompanying instructions were clear and helpful also. I connected my smartphone to the robot mower by Wi-Fi. This gave me access to all the features of the mower, such as scheduling, cutting pattern, cutting height etc.
Installing the positioning beacons was very easy. I attached these to four locations around my garden. I attached two to my fence and two to the trunks of trees. The app asks you to input the installation height into the app.
Of note, the positioning beacons are small and unobtrusive and are powered by batteries. According to the provided information, these have an 8-month battery life, assuming you have a 500 square meter lawn being cut daily. All in, installation of the positioning beacons took only about 5 minutes and the app calibrated these without issue.
The next task was to mark out the perimeter of my lawn. For this, I simply drove the mower, using on screen controls, around the perimeter of my lawn. The app stores this information, and the mower will then only work within the defined area.
If you have obstacles on your lawn, such as flowerbeds or trees, you simply drive around these to demarcate the obstructions, and the mower will avoid these.
The next task was to mark the position of the charging station. This involved driving the mower to a location close to the dock and then pressing a button in the app. The mower detects the dock and drives into the charger, remembering the location.
Once this was done, the mower was ready to go. I pressed start, and the mower began. The mower moves out of the dock, drives around the perimeter, and then starts cutting in the pattern that you have specified in the app. You can also schedule when the Canvas will mow via the app.
Overall, the setup was much easier than any robot lawnmower I have previously installed, taking only about 30 minutes.
Seven Bridges Robot Inc. had not given me any prior instructions regarding setup, so I just used the instructions provided, and I was surprised by how intuitive it was. I did have a few uncertainties about where exactly to place the charging station and how close to the edge of the lawn to mark out the border. Having spoken to the company, I understand that final adjustments are being made to the app and instructions, to make things even clearer.
First Impression Of The Canvas Robot Mower
I have been using the Canvas for the last 3 weeks or so, and I’ve honestly been very impressed both by the technology and the functionality. I encountered a few teething problems, that I will discuss below, and there are both pros and cons of the current technology.
- I was particularly excited to test this robot mower as it is the first mower I have tried that does not use a perimeter wire or guidewire to navigate. It was very easy to setup and I was able to mark out the lawn edge and lawn obstacles in minutes.
- The Canvas looks great, with robust build quality.
- It incorporates all of the safety features I have come to expect from robot lawnmowers, such as lift, tilt and collision sensors, that stop the blades as soon as they are activated.
- The Canvas is able to mow your lawn in stripes, and you can adjust the cutting pattern and cutting height within the app. Many other robot lawnmowers are only able to cut your lawn in a random pattern and often you need to adjust the cutting height manually.
- The Canvas has a roller situated behind the cutting blades, which helps to stripe your lawn and produce an aesthetically pleasing appearance after cutting.
- The App was easy to use and made connecting to the mower, completing the setup, and adjusting settings easy.
- Edge cutting performance is not quite up to the same standard that you might expect from some other robot lawn mowers that use a perimeter wire to demarcate the lawn edge. Seven Bridges Robot Inc. quote +/- 10cm for accuracy of their current system. I re-drew the lawn perimeter a few times to fine-tune performance on my lawn and found performance to be reasonable. You will certainly still have to trim the edges of your lawn from time to time, but this is also the case with pretty much every other robot mower.
- I found the Canvas to be noisier than other similar robot lawnmowers, although still well within acceptable levels. The Canvas uses a cutting mechanism with a spinning disc and three razor blades, similar to that used by Husqvarna and many others, so I expected noise to be similar. The Canvas has quite high ground clearance at the front, and I wondered whether the increased noise could be attributed to reduced sound shielding provided by the body of the mower, compared to other models.
- I understand that there are still a number of improvements to be made to the app, documentation, and functionality of the Canvas before commercial availability. I found that there were some minor issues with the app and documentation that could be improved.
- When I initially setup the Canvas, I did have some issues with the mower running off the side of the lawn and getting stuck. It was only after speaking to the company that I was able to adjust my setup, to let the mower function reliably. I believe this issue will be resolved with clearer documentation about the setup of the mower.
Should You Buy A Canvas In Preference To A Mower That Uses Perimeter Wire
This is an interesting question. There is no doubt that the canvas represents the future of robot lawnmowers. Setup was so simple, and once working, it was a delight to use. However, this is new technology for robot mowers, that has taken many years to refine and implement. There are many great advantages, but also some disadvantages. If you are just looking for a tried and tested mower that you can setup and forget about, the Canvas probably isn’t for you.
If you love cutting edge technology, are happy to spend a little time perfecting the setup of your mower, and are prepared to accept some features that require a little refinement, then the Canvas is a wonderful option.
Having spoken to Yiming Liu from Seven Bridges Robot Inc. I am excited by the company’s vision and plans to keep refining this product and. I don’t currently have any details on pricing or availability of the canvas, but will update this article once this information is available. If you’d like to learn more, you can check out the Canvas website.