Drunken Robot Lawnmowers

My not quite just across the street neighbors do not less moss grow under their feet, nor, like good Germans, do they let the grass get too tall on their lawn.  They’re often away for a week or two or three in their Wohnmobil (mobile home), aka WoMo (pronounce Vo-Mo), but the two robot lawnmowers their son gave them (since it’s often him that they’re visiting, as often as not to house sit for him when he and his family are off on vacation) keep close tabs on the lawn.  But, it has become clear, that it’s my job to keep close tabs on the lawnmowers, because they’re neither terribly bright nor splendidly graceful.

In other words, they’re good at getting stuck and then sitting there as helplessly as upturned turtles until the charge on their battery run out.

It has become a fun game.  Every morning before I wander over to check on the state of things, I wonder where I will find the lawnmowers this time. Because, seriously, the lack of maimed bodies and the wailing of victims’ families aside, it’s just like dealing with a habitual drunk driver (or, two: one in front, and one out back).  Will I have to dig them out of a hedge?  Will one have lodged itself between the tree and the fence? Will one or both of them have missed their docking station and then run out of battery? I haven’t yet had to fish one out of the little pond, but, really, it feels like it’s just a matter of time.

They’re often hungover, as well, refusing to show up for work at the appointed time. Even if I haven’t had to haul them out of the ditch they drove into, they often sit in their docking station until I’ve given them a good speaking to and hit START a few times. Even then they grumble a bit before heading out on their merry lawn-daisy loping off way. I’m pretty sure, unless they get themselves stuck after crashing into a planter, they slink straight back into their docking station as soon as I’m gone.

But, seriously, either these thousand dollar robot lawnmowers are nowhere near the actual cutting edge (ahem), or there are still many decades ahead of us before we need to worry about the evil machinations of AI.


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