So far living with the Husqvarna Automower has been an overwhelmingly positive experience as I think you’ll agree if you’ve watched all the previous videos. However one aspect of ownership gives me cause for concern.
Lawn Mower Lifters
The whole idea of an autonomous robotic lawnmower is that it roams around your garden on its own. It’s pretty rare though, perhaps unique, to have such an expensive piece of tech hardware that’s so vulnerable and exposed to potential theft like this.
So have Husqvarna not thought about this already? Well after 21 years producing robot mowers they have several anti-theft strategies for their machines…
Does Automower have a theft alarm?
Yes. Automower has several theft protection systems that may be activated. Most important: Automower cannot be used without the personal PIN code. The installation lock prevents Automower from functioning on any other installation than your own. The time lock requests your four-digit PIN to be entered at an interval decided by yourself. The alarm requires the PIN code to be entered when Automower is stopped – or an audio alarm will go off. Also, the GPS communication unit includes a GPS tracker available as accessory for most models.
Breaking those down, the first line of defence is a siren / alarm that sounds if the mower is lifted. To turn this on set the Security option to HIGH from the control panel.
While it’s shrill it’s not that loud and I doubt it would put off many thieves – who even takes notice of car alarms these days, and they’re much louder.
You also get an alert on your smartphone when you mower detects that it’s been lifted but my iPhone is set to ‘do not disturb’ when I’m asleep so if it was stolen at night I wouldn’t even get the alert until it was long gone and if I was away from home there wouldn’t be much I could do either.
If you have the 450X or a 430X, 420, 330X or 320 with the optional Connect Hardware fitted then you can take your mower to the centre of your property and set a geofence from the control panel. Once this is setup you’ll receive notification when the machine is moved outside of your property.
We tested this and from the time we drove off with our Automower in the car it took a full 10 minutes before we got an alert on the phone (there’s an email too – see below). We could have been miles away. It also wouldn’t be hard to put the machine in a metal box that would render the GPS and Cellular radio useless.
PIN / Disabled
If your machine is reported as stolen to Husqvarna then they will black-list it, disabling it from being paired with any new charging dock in the future.
If the robotic lawnmower is stolen, it is important to notify Husqvarna AB of this. Contact your local dealer and provide the product’s serial number so that it can be registered as stolen in an international database. This is an important step in the robotic lawnmower’s theft protection which reduces interest in the buying and selling of stolen robotic lawnmowers.
I think this is the least convincing of all the anti-theft functions. Knowing that the scumbag that stole your Automower can’t use it is cold comfort.
And ultimately none of the above would really protect against someone just taking the mower for badness or vandalism. The sort of twit that takes a super market trolly and throws it in a river for ‘fun’.
So What Can You do?
To minimise risk you could decide to only run your machine when it’s dark and unlikely to be spotted. Alternatively you might feel that it’s at most risk at night and set it up to cut only during daylight hours. Our dealer has told us quite a few of his older customers don’t even use the timer function, preferring to kick the machine off manually only when they are around.
Then again perhaps this is all in my mind. I asked Husqvarna for some hard figures regarding the theft of their machines around Europe and they replied…
We do not normally disclose this information other than it is a very low figure.
If it was a very low figure then surely you’d want to share that number?
Either way it’s something you’re going to want to add to your home insurance policy (watch out for any small print that excludes robot mowers).
So here’s the sixth part of our video review series, where you can have a listen to that alarm and see the security options (please like, share and subscribe)…
Make sure to check out all 8 parts in this video review series…
Part 1 – The Robots are Coming
Part 2 – The 1st Cut is the Deepest
Part 3 – Perfect Timing
Part 4 – Connect Control
Part 5 – Rain or Shine
Part 6 – Stolen?
Part 7 – I Messed Up
Part 8 – A Tesla for your Garden