Is Ecovacs’ new GOAT G1 robotic lawnmower good at cutting grass automatically?
It’s a battery-powered, WiFi- and Bluetooth-enabled lawnmower that uses a combination of wireless location signals, gyroscopes, optical cameras and lasers to navigate around your garden, cutting grass autonomously while carefully avoiding obstacles like plants, as it turns grass.
To set it up, you place two or more wireless beacons in strategic corners of the yard (two came in the box, but we used three because our test garden is large and oddly shaped), sync the beacons to the GOAT G1, and then slowly drive the mower around the boundaries of the area you want to mow , using the Ecovacs app on your phone as a sort of one-time steering wheel.
One of our two big complaints about the mower is that if you mess up the steering a little while slowly walking the GOAT G1 around the edge of your yard, you have to start the process all over again. There is no way to go back into the app and simply edit the map to correct the boundaries.
This is the explanation for having one of the uncut grass tufts in our garden. We place a GOAT charging station on the border of the mowing zone before We mapped it out (and directed the mower around it), when we should have put it in place after Maps have been drawn.
If it had been the only strand, we might have re-done the entire mapping process to fix it, but it was just one of many, so we were never able to fix it.
However, being able to correct such errors in the app, rather than slowly driving the robot around your garden, would be a big help.
But that’s not the most significant change Ecovacs needs to the software that controls this mower, especially for anyone with complex or messy lawns like the ones behind our labs.
For good reasons not to mow flower beds, GOAT G1 categorically refuses to mow areas where it detects any plants much higher than 10 cm. The lab grass had not been mowed in a while, so there was no way to cut it completely except with a regular mower first.
Anywhere there was a weed or patch of grass higher than the maximum height of the goats remained uncut, and over the weeks those tufts became larger and thicker, to the point where the grass now looked quite strange, like my school friend Gikolas used to mow it in his sleep.
Worse still, the goats refused to even drive more Areas of tall grass, meaning that areas beyond that are not otherwise accessible and are not mowed as well. Over time, the grass in these spots grows so long that we doubt the goats would refuse to mow the grass even if they had access to it.
The problem is not in the default behavior of GOAT G1. Refusing to mow plants growing in or near your garden is exactly what you want from your robot mower. It’s common knowledge that this weed patch could just as easily be your favorite tulip patch.
But Ecovacs really needs to let users override this default behavior by telling the mower so Can And you have to cut that tulip strand because it’s just a long grass.
Other than that, we were very impressed with the GOAT G1.
Our test garden is hilly in places, enough to make us convinced that goats would fail to mow large sections. But as it turns out, the 20-degree limit on slopes that goats are officially willing to climb is steeper than you might think. All you have to do is make sure those hills are there actually Cut them before you try to cut them with goats first.
On the other hand, the sticks and branches were just as annoying as we feared they would be.
The robot doesn’t have large blades, and compared to a traditional internal combustion mower, there isn’t much power to spin them either. Which means the mower barely scratches the sticks, let alone covers them. Over the course of testing, sticks falling from our trees slowly accumulated, to the point where they began to get stuck in the mower.
On a few occasions, we went to our test garden only to find that it hadn’t been mowed in days because the goat had trapped itself on a stick somewhere, and (based on the holes it had dug in the grass) its back turned the wheels until the battery died.
Now, the GOAT is Wi-Fi enabled, so you can monitor it from your phone and rescue it when it gets into trouble. But in our tests, the size of our backyard, combined with various hills, rocks, and sheds, meant that our Wi-Fi didn’t extend from the labs all the way to the grass.
Unfortunately for us, it was in these areas that the goats would find themselves spinning their wheels on sticks.
We had two other concerns about goats, both of which proved to be unfounded.
One is that neither it nor its charging station can handle the rain. But it’s been five or six rainstorms now, and it doesn’t seem any worse for her.
Our other fear was that someone would see a $3,000 piece of high-tech in our yard, jump over the fence and scratch it.
But as I write this, the goat is still there, safe and sound in its charging base. It’s possible that no thief has seen him yet, or he could be that thief he have I saw him but took one look at the work he did in our garden and decided it wasn’t worth the effort.
Not until Ecovacs updates the firmware to allow you to mow taller grass, anyway.
GOAT G1 robotic lawnmower
- Price | $2999
- Likes | Works well on already cut grass. It handles hills surprisingly well.
- hates | He refuses to mow tall grass. Maps cannot be modified in the phone to set cropping limits.