In Brevard County, Florida, the Brevard School District is no stranger to making headlines for innovative solutions to their landscaping woes. But this time, Grounds Supervisor Matt Nolle is trading in goats for robots.
To be more specific, we are talking about the ECHO Robotics TM-2000 autonomous turf mower. After some of Nolle’s crew members saw a YouTube video of the autonomous mower at work, he thought it might be a solution to the school district’s mowing problems.
“We are not staffed to cut our facilities in a timely manner and keep the fields in a playable condition for the students,” Nolle said. “I presented the idea to our director, and we were able to go see the mower at a trade show.”
After seeing the TM-2000 in person at the 2019 Sports Turf Managers Association Annual Conference & Exhibition, the decision to add robots into the mix was easy for Nolle.
“The robots supplement our existing crews and allow them more time to make their rounds. On our smaller facility, the mower runs from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.—on our larger facility, it runs 24 hours a day.”
So far, Nolle says the most significant benefit has been that the district no longer needs to send a tractor or mowing crew to take care of the fields.
“Now, they are always cut, and over time, I’ve noticed that the quality of the fields is improving. We no longer have runner stems sticking up and rows of grass clipping on the field. The grass is greener, softer, and more pleasant to be on.”
As far as the install process, Nolle called it a “piece of cake.” At ECHO Robotics, installs require very little help from the purchaser: only power and an identified charging location.
“It took less than a day to install the charger and perimeter wire with no disruption to the school activities,” Nolle said. “Not only that, the TM-2000 has allowed us to increase our mowing rotation time on the fields that don’t have robots yet. As more robots come online, it will allow us to direct our staff to other projects and not have to worry about cutting grass.”
Right now, Nolle’s operation includes two mowers, but he plans to add more to the fleet in the future and potentially use data from the mowers for teaching purposes. Much like the robotics team at Lake Zurich High School is doing.
To learn more about adding the TM-2000 autonomous turf mower to your operations, please reach out. We’d love to chat.