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Three new robots call Chesapeake Regional Airport home

The iMOW robotic lawnmowers from STIHL give people the opportunity to have self-charging, self-driving machines cut their grass.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Author's note: the video above is on file from Oct. 8, 2021.

Even if you have a small lawn, it can be a pain to mow. Imagine having to cut the grass at an airport, and how many people that job can take.

Chesapeake Regional Airport has a few new workers that never complain, and never break a sweat.

“It’s the best worker we have on the property,” said Chesapeake Regional Airport Facilities Maintenance Manager, Greg Dorson.

The new worker is a robot that cuts grass. Dorson said it’s like an "Energizer bunny" for the lawn.

"It charges itself; it goes back and mows, and it keeps doing that. It never stops.”

Chesapeake Regional Airport currently has three iMOW robotic lawn mowers.

"You can set it to cut 24 hours a day and the only times it's going to stop is when it goes back to charge," Dorson said.

The airport's maintenance manager said cutting the grass with the new equipment is no sweat. He said it would generally take about four hours a week to cut the grass on the airport’s property. They don’t have to do that anymore.

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"What made us think of iMOW is labor shortages," said Brian Manke, a product manager with STIHL Inc. "The STIHL philosophy is all about technology."

The robots have saved the airport lot of time and energy.

"People look at iMOW and they look at how small it is and the fact that it's battery-powered," Manke said. "They just assume that there is no way it can maintain this large of a mowing area."

That's a wrong assumption.

Manke said iMOW can do whatever you ask it to do. You can operate it through an app on your phone.

"It's almost like a goldfish," he explained. "It kind of blends into the background and you don’t hear it and you don’t even notice it.”

The price for one iMOW is between $1,400 to 2,000 plus a one-time installation fee.

“You are mowing [the grass] every day. It is similar to a golf course, so you don’t have the dust, the grass the debris that is getting blown into the air like you would with a traditional lawnmower. It’s a huge benefit for homeowners, people with allergies, hay fever."

Chesapeake Regional Airport leaders said the sky was the limit for this new technology.

“In the future, I would love to have more," Dorson said.

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