How Graze Mowing’s self-driving mower is disrupting the $100 billion commercial landscaping industry
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Despite being worth $ 100 billion in commercial landscaping in the US, it is in dire financial straits. His outdated equipment is dependent on manual labor, the high fluctuation of which leads to rising personnel costs. Even the best-rated companies in the industry are scratching their way to profit margins of 10 percent or less. But Graze’s AI-controlled mowing systems seem to be revolutionizing this technologically stagnant sector.
Many landscapers would welcome technical innovation because most of today’s commercial mowers have surprisingly undergone little development over the past century. For example, many ride-on mowers are still powered by expensive diesel engines, which can produce more than 34 times the CO2 emissions of the average car.
Wedged between high fuel and manual labor costs and with few climate-neutral equipment options, a growing number of commercial landscapers are facing a bleak financial future – a stark reality that has created a clear and urgent demand for disruptive solutions.
Graze’s autonomous mowing systems could provide the disruptive answers this industry has been looking for – they could save many landscaping companies from financial ruin while reducing their environmental footprint and attracting thousands of investors.
An industry in search of innovation
Even before COVID-19, America’s commercial landscaping companies faced significant financial challenges. In 2019, a whopping 13% reported no profit at all, while the vast majority said their profits fell over the past year.
Much of the blame for these problems lies in outdated technology. Although commercial landscaping represents a nationwide market of $ 98.7 billion, it has attracted surprisingly little technical innovation. Today’s landscapers still rely on inefficient diesel-powered mowers, which consume gallons of expensive fuel and emit far more atmospheric carbon than automobiles.
Plus, these mowers require manual operators – whose wages average 45% of a landscaping company’s revenue. Rising wages and labor shortages are reducing these profit margins even further – leaving many commercial landscapers desperate for solutions that directly impact the bottom line.
An AI powered lawnmower solution
With the commercial landscaping industry stuck between low profit margins, high labor costs and tightened environmental regulations, a tech startup called Graze Mowing could offer a way out – in the form of a self-propelled electric lawnmower that can cut labor costs by up to 50 percent, while 75 Percent of fuel costs can be saved.
In fact, Graze currently manufactures the world’s only commercial-sized autonomous mower specifically designed for golf courses, country clubs and their landscaping companies. Equipped with ultrasound and sensors, odometry sensors and computer vision, Graze lawnmowers navigate safely and precisely on commercial construction sites.
Every Graze mower can be controlled from a computer, tablet or smartphone. At the push of a button, the mower navigates around the boundaries of the area to be worked and tracks the boundaries and the interior in a series of parallel paths. A first run is enough for the mower to map the area and record all obstacles such as trees and bushes. From then on, it automatically mows the same area at the push of a button.
In addition, Graze mowers actively collect real-world data every time they mow. You feed this information into a central analytics console, where machine learning algorithms analyze performance, pinpoint inefficiencies, and plan more effective paths for the next run. This means that the performance of any mower will automatically improve over time – without the need for human feedback.
A look into the future of landscaping
Graze’s current generation of mowers already has $ 5.5 million. Led by John Vlay, Graze Mowing CEO and a landscaping veteran with an extensive network of industry connections, the company has pre-orders of $ 19.35 million obtained from landscapers and country clubs.
On this wave of support, Graze has already developed a second generation mower – equipped with Laser Imaging, Detection and Ranging (LIDAR), which makes it possible to detect and avoid smaller and / or faster moving objects. The Graze V-2 also has a 7-hour battery system as well as an adjustable mower deck that can be equipped with special attachments for trimming, edging, snow throwing, mulching and more.
And that’s just the beginning of Graze’s overall vision. Leveraging the real world data its mowers collect every day, Graze is working hard to build an integrated AI system that will manage entire fleets of autonomous mowers – detecting and treating plant diseases, balancing workloads, and even tracking weather data to coordinate automated mowing and to control services where they are needed most.
Currently, Graze has opened a limited opportunity for individual investors to purchase private stocks of a company that is geared towards rapid growth beyond the $ 98.7 billion commercial landscaping market as well as the $ 14.16 billion golf market. The last time Graze put shares in the company for sale, it quickly sold $ 3.88 million in shares. More than 3,300 investors have already bought 50 percent of the offering for this round – and the number of shares available is shrinking daily as the round closes on June 30th.
Self-driving vehicles and electric drives have already changed the automotive industry – and commercial landscaping could be next. Graze’s specialized machine learning, computer-aided vision and emission-free electric drive systems pave the way for a fully autonomous future in an industry that urgently needs new solutions.
As labor costs continue to rise and staff shortages continue to grow, many landscaping companies will soon have no choice but to follow their forward-looking competitors and invest in Graze’s promise for a more sustainable future.
Sponsored content by Graze Mowing