FireFly Automatix launches autonomous EV mower
By Riley Simpson31 August 2023
The autonomous commercial reel mower, which cuts a 100-inch width, is FireFly’s first all-electric vehicle (EV).
The M100-AV can operate without on-site supervision and includes LiDAR-enabled obstacle detection and avoidance for safety. Additionally, the new mower provides intelligent path planning, so no boundary wires are needed, and mowing patterns are optimized for maximum efficiency.
Powered by an advanced LiFePO4 battery, the M100-AV can quietly mow up to 25 acres per charge at speeds of 7 acres/hour, with recharge taking two hours. FireFly said that with no gasoline or operating emissions, the mower is predicted to decrease fuel costs by 87%, as well as reducing owners’ carbon footprints.
Additionally, the M100-AV is designed for a 65% maintenance cost reduction and a 76% longer machine life.
“The culture here at FireFly is what allowed our engineering team to dream big and achieve a level of excellence that will bring electric and autonomous technology to the mowing world in an incredible way,” said Mark LeBlanc, the project’s head engineer.
Other features of the M100-AV mower include:
- Four independent electric drive motors are synchronized with two independent steering motors to achieve low-impact traction
- Wide stance and balanced weight distribution allow for low ground pressure and impressive sidehill performance
- The RoloRocker™ cutting unit design achieves a more stable ride through the field, enabling higher speeds and a better aftercut appearance
- SyncLift™ position-based lift technology reduces the need for a clean-up pass
- Drive motors are engineered for a 100,000+ hour life and low maintenance
FireFly said the M100-AV’s ideal applications are sports fields, golf courses, and municipalities.
Evidence of labor challenges, the number of H-2A temporary farm worker positions increased more than seven-fold over the past 17 years, according to the USDA. Utilizing autonomous machines could meet these challenges and reduce labor costs by 90%, according to FireFly.
“I am highly impressed by the innovative FireFly reel automatic mower,” said Scott DeBuck, owner of this summer’s TPI’s host farm. “Its cutting performance produces truly beautiful results, and the capability to program various mowing angles is truly astonishing. Owning a mower like this would be a dream come true, and I firmly believe that the industry as a whole would greatly benefit from such a remarkable invention.”
FireFly said it is currently accepting pre-orders and anticipates delivering the first production models this fall. The Utah-based company expects a rapid ramp-up in production due to its established capabilities in its manufacturing facility in Salt Lake City.