Willow X: The next generation gardening robot

Willow X Outdoor Robot Eeve
Currently in prototyping, Willow X outdoor robot features articulating arms. Images © EEVE

Gardening shares its roots with the origin of farming thousands of years ago. However, only recently have robots started to get a green thumb. Thanks to advancing technologies, Willow X by Eeve is an assistant gardener coming soon in 2025. Let’s talk about what the robot can do and how it will be able to help consumers and commercial businesses with gardening and landscaping.

Keeping gardens orderly

Many robots operate in urban areas, like Stan Robot. However, Eeve’s goal with Willow X is to help gardeners keep their work under control. The robot helps mow lawns, pick up debris, remove weeds, harvest, and more. As icing on the cake, the robot operates for six hours per charge. The robot will return to its power supply to recharge before the next use on its own.

Eeve boasts that the robot can drive slopes of up to 25%. A premium model, called Willow X Pro, can undertake 35% slopes. In addition, this premium model extends the battery life to eight hours.

Each robot has arms that can do various tasks, like grasping objects. These are useful for cleaning areas, pulling weeds, and harvesting. The robot has artificial intelligence to allow it to perform tasks autonomously, but it also can be programmed manually with scripting.

Willow X navigates with computer vision

Many farming and outdoor robots use GPS and perimeter sensors to understand their surroundings. To recognize obstacles, Willow X and Willow X Pro use a 4K camera. Engineers call this technology computer vision, the ability for computers to see the world like humans do. It’s an artificial intelligence technology that helps power robotics, augmented reality, image recognition, and more. In addition, the robots can can detect rain, as these robots likely won’t be very useful in certain weather conditions.

The Eeve Robot Platform

One of the most innovative aspects of Willow X is community support. To explain, the Eeve Robot Platform and the Eeve Developer Toolkit provide resources for customers to create their own tools for Willow X and the original Willow robot by Eeve. This includes open source files, 3D print models, and more. Because of this, Eeve’s robots will continue to have support for years. In fact, they claim that tools will be available for their bots for more than 60 years.

There’s nothing on Eeve’s website saying that Willow X will have access to the same developer platform as the original Willow robot. However, it’s reasonable to assume that they will extend those features to their new robo-gardener.

The cost of robot gardening

Eeve is open for pre-orders of Willow X, starting at €3,990 (around $4,022 USD). Meanwhile, the Pro version of the robot comes in at €4,690 (about $4,727 USD). Pre-orders are not expected to ship until 2025. Eeve expects to complete the first batch of robots by the end of 2024.

The success of Eeve’s robot remains to be seen. However, Eeve claimed earlier this year that their new gardening robot had already received 900 pre-orders. Their target audience seems to be visionaries who see robots as playing a much greater role in the future of work.