Robot lawn mowers are relatively expensive machines that are designed to be kept in your garden for most of the year. I would have thought that they would be an easy target for thieves, but thankfully there are numerous features that make them very secure. Robot lawn mower security features are well developed to both prevent theft and promote recovery if one should be stolen.
What Are The Main Security Features Of Robot Lawn Mowers?
All robot lawn mowers have a PIN code feature to ensure that only an authorised operator may use the robot lawn mower. The PIN code for most robot lawn mowers is a four digit code that is chosen during the setup process of installing the robot lawn mower. The PIN code can be changed through the options menu at any time if desired.
The robot lawn mower can be set to request the PIN code every time the mower is started or every time the access panel is opened. Without knowing the correct pin, an individual will not be able to start or operate the robot lawn mower.
After a small number of incorrect attempts, the robot lawn mower will lock, preventing further attempts at entering the PIN for an extended period of time. In the event that a robot lawn mower was stolen, the thief would not be able to operate the robot lawnmower due to this feature.
Robot lawn mower security features are usually adjustable. This means that you can change the frequency with which the PIN code is requested.
Some robot lawn mowers have a time lock, where the robot lawn mower will work for an extended period, usually days or weeks, before asking for the PIN code to be entered. Once the time period has been exceeded, the next occasion the mower is manually stopped or the control panel is accessed, you will have to input the PIN to allow the robot lawn mower to resume functioning.
Obviously, if a thief stole a robot lawnmower under these circumstances, they may be able to use the machine until the robot lawnmower asks for the PIN code again. Generally, you would only want to use this low security setting if your garden is very secure, or in a remote location where the risk of theft is very low.
It is more advisable to set your robot lawn mower so that the PIN code is requested every time you stop the robot lawn mower manually, or open the access panel to use the controls. It only takes a few seconds to enter the PIN, and you really don’t have to adjust the settings of a robot lawn mower very often, so this is a minor inconvenience.
Alarm functions are almost universal on robot lawn mowers. Most robot lawn mowers can be set so that an alarm is sounded if the robot lawn mower is lifted without first stopping the mower using the stop button and entering the PIN code. Similarly, if a robot lawn mower is lifted from it’s charging station without first entering the PIN code, this will also result in an alarm being sounded.
If a robot lawn mower is manually halted using the stop button, most models will activate a timer, during which the PIN code must be entered correctly on the control panel, to prevent the alarm from sounding. For Husqvarna automowers, for example, the PIN code must be entered within 10 seconds of the emergency stop button being pressed or the alarm will sound. A ticking sound indicates that the PIN code must be entered.
The alarm can be turned off at any time by correctly entering the PIN code in the control panel. The duration of the alarm can be adjusted through the security settings on the control panel. The duration of the alarm can also normally be adjusted in the control panel.
The Husqvarna 450x, for example, can adjust the alarm to last for between 1 minute and 20 minutes. There are some minor differences in the alarm functions of different robot lawn mowers. Some models allow more
The only downside of an alarm as a robot lawn mower security feature, is that they are often ignored by neighbours and passers by, as people are so used to false alarms. The main function of alarms is as a deterrent to discourage theft and, in the case of an opportunistic theft attempt, it may cause a thief to give up and run away.
Some robot lawn mower models are uniquely paired with their charging base. This means that if your robot lawn mower is stolen, it will be rendered useless to the thief. As a robot lawn mower security feature, it may seem that this only provides benefits after the mower has been stolen.
However, information regarding robot lawn mower security features spreads quickly, so that many thieves will be aware that they are not an attractive target for theft. The theft statistics for robot lawn mowers are very low, and it is likely that this is due to the combination of numerous security features, rather than one particular robot lawn mower security feature.
If you are unfortunate enough to have your robot lawn mower stolen, you can contact the manufacturer of your robot lawn mower, and have the model blacklisted. This can have a number of consequences, depending on the model in question.
Normally, it will result in the model being added to a central database so that if it is brought for servicing, the service centre will be immediately aware that it has been blacklisted. The service centre will refuse to service the model and may be able to alert the authorities to the possibility of it being stolen property.
A number of robot lawn mower models have GPS functionality. This serves a number of purposes. Firstly, it allows location tracking to enhance the smart features of a robot lawn mower. This can allow you to navigate your robot lawn mower via a mobile app to cut areas of grass that need extra attention. GPS functionality can also improve the navigation of a robot lawn mower, allowing your lawn to be cut in a more efficient manner.
From a security perspective, GPS functionality enables you know exactly where your robot lawn mower is at all times. Accompanying apps for smartphones and tablets can provide notifications if your robot lawn mower moves outside of the cutting area.
There have been a number of cases where owners have received notifications alerting them to the mower leaving the cutting area, providing immediate knowledge that the robot lawn mower has been stolen. Here is a news story about a case where an owner was able to alert the authorities, who then tracked and recovered the robot lawn mower. In this case, the anti-theft functionality of the GPS technology enabled the safe recovery of the robot lawn mower and the successful conviction of the two thieves.
This case brings up one important point. In the event that your robot lawn mower is stolen and you are able to track it’s location using the on-board GPS technology, do not try to recover the machine yourself.
Thieves can be dangerous and this is a job for the appropriate authorities. If you turn up at the thief’s door requesting your robot lawn mower back, they are unlikely to just hand it over. The thief may refuse to return the machine and may then panic and destroy or dump your robot lawn mower.
If you directly contact the police, explain the situation and have them deal with the theft, proper process will be followed. The thief is much more likely to cooperate with a police officer who arrives at the door, than a member of the public.
Many Security Features Can Be Toggled On Or Off
As they have developed over the last few decades, robot lawn mower security features have been a top priority. No one is likely to purchase an expensive machine which would be at high risk of theft. However, there may be occasions where a user does not wish to make use of all the security features. There may be instances where the user lives remotely, or has a very secure garden.
In this scenario, it may be preferable to turn off the alarm and PIN code, or at least have some ability to customise the active security features. Thankfully, most manufacturers have developed options within the control panels to adjust the security settings to match the requirements of the user.
Should I Insure My Robot Lawn Mower?
Most home insurance policies will cover robot lawn mowers as standard. However, they may have particular criteria which you must fulfill to ensure that you are covered.
If you have a robot lawn mower, I would advise asking your home insurance provider directly if your robot lawn mower is insured. If not, you may be able to add your robot lawn mower as a named item to your existing insurance policy for a small fee.
In the unfortunate scenario of having your robot lawn mower stolen, making a claim on your home insurance policy may not always be the best policy. Your home insurance policy may have an excess of several hundred pounds, and making a claim may increase your premiums for several years to come.
If you have an
Theft From Gardens Is Increasing
Robot lawn mower security is one thing, but there are numerous other items of value in your garden which need to be protected as well. Unlike your home, which is usually locked, and may have numerous security features to deter and prevent theft, your garden is a much more vulnerable target.
Many gardens are easily accessible, meaning that thieves can enter your garden, steal items of value and leave very quickly. Although the manufacturers of robot lawn mowers have gone to considerable effort to ensure ensure their security, there are several practical steps that you can take to ensure that all items of value in your garden are as safe as possible.
Secure Your Boundaries
Don’t make it easy for a thief. If you have front or side gates, keep them closed and locked at night and when away. While a locked gate can easily be dealt with by a determined thief, it will act as a significant deterrent and increase the time and noise required for a thief to access your garden.
Try To Improve Visibility Of Your Garden
Gardens that are more visible from the street are less attractive to thieves. Don’t give thieves anywhere to hide from view at the front of your property. If a thief has to stand in the open while breaking open a gate or climbing a fence, they are much less likely to try a theft from your property. The police recommend that your keep the height of a front hedge or fence below 0.9 metres to increase visibility from the street.
Good security lighting can be a great anti-theft feature. I have security lights at the four corners of my house which react to movement sensors. This light shines on the front garden, driveway and back garden, providing a strong deterrent to any prospective thief.
Consider Marking Your Property
Marking your robot lawn mower and other garden features and equipment is a good way to deter thieves. A robot lawn mower with the owner’s name and address engraved on it has considerably less resale value on the black market and may cause a thief to think again.
The cost of CCTV has fallen dramatically over recent years. Wifi linked cameras that can be monitored by app on a smartphone, tablet or computer are easy to install and use. Statistics have shown that the use of CCTV can result in a small reduction in theft, and is best used to prevent the theft of specific items, rather than prevent crime generally. Therefore, it is ideal for preventing the theft of specific high value items in your garden.
As robot lawn mowers are fairly high value items that are located in a relatively vulnerable location or your property, the companies which have developed them have had to put security at the forefront of the design process. The evidence in terms of theft statistics is that they have done a good job, as theft of robot lawn mowers is rare.
However, there are differences in robot lawn mower security features between different models and manufacturers, so it is important to consider this area carefully when doing research. As discussed above, it is every bit as important to consider the general security of your garden and property as it is to consider the security features of the individual robot lawn mower.