iRobot is a US based advanced tech outfit that develops proprietary technology incorporating advanced concepts in “navigation, mobility, manipulation and artificial intelligence to build robots,” that serve three tiers : Home, Security and Remote presence.
Now, taking the Home segment further, the company is believed to be working on an automatic lawn mower. What is irksome, however (at least for radio astronomers), is the fact that it has low power radio beacons installed within, to help it navigate even around corners, emitting waves in the 6240-6740 MHz range, points out TechCrunch.
The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), on the other hand uses the same range to flag “interstellar wood alcohol” in space, as it essentially indicates the birth of a star in the vicinity.
An FCC filing from iRobot outlines its project and intentions even promises undertaking “all practicable steps” to prevent any interference with radio astronomy. However that pans out for iRobot and NRAO remains to be seen.
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Meanwhile, both parties have been indulging in verbal jousting through FCC comments:
￼iRobot: “Use of the iRobot RLM [robot lawn mower] will increase lawn mower safety. An estimated 1,517 lethal accidents occurred with lawn mowers through the years 1997 to 2010. It is reasonable to assume that many of these injuries and deaths would not occur if consumers used a robotic mower. More than 17 million gallons of fuel, mostly gasoline, are spilled each year while refueling lawn equipment. A battery powered RLM will reduce emissions, gasoline spills, fires and other such accidents.”
NRAO: “iRobot cited multiple statistics of grim accidents and spilt gasoline to assert the public benefit of approving its wireless robotic lawn mowers. However, there is already a competitive market for robotic lawn mowers using wire loops [buried edge wire], which has somehow failed to stanch the stream of ghastly accidents and spilt gasoline that iRobot associates with the mundane practice of lawn-mowing.”