The City of Waterloo strives to be creative while promoting ideas to become a greener and more environmentally responsible city.

All aspects of the city’s operations are viewed through a green lens to help move towards a cleaner, greener future by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).  The city’s Fleet and Procurement division is doing its part through the introduction of alternative fuel vehicles, rightsizing vehicles, and continuously investigating new technologies that reduce GHGs while meeting the operational needs of the community.

The latest addition to the fleet was a joint effort with the city’s Parks, Forestry, and Cemetery Division.  After the completion of a successful 20-day trial of an Echo TM2000, the city bought its first robot. The Echo TM2000 is not only the City of Waterloo’s first robot, but it’s the first electric fully automated robot turf mower of its kind deployed in a municipality in Canada.

The echo electric fully automated robot turf mower is emissions-free, offers quiet operation, and works rain or shine, day and night. The unit also promotes healthier, consistently cut better-looking, and better-performing turf. The mower is monitored and controlled remotely using an online portal or app on a smartphone allowing staff to view production continually. The mower is electric and equipped with a return to base charge feature to ensure the unit is ready for service. Staff can adjust mowing heights remotely and because the unit is lightweight, it can operate in wet field conditions when traditional larger mowers cannot.  This has positively impacted service levels for community groups.  Safety features are a must on the ECHO. The mower is equipped with five sonar sensors to detect objects in its path and allows the unit to change direction when required. The unit will work inside of a prescribed area defined by an in-ground peripheral safety wire that can be as large as 24000m2.

“This has been a very informative trial of the Echo TM200. The unit has shown its ability to meet service levels efficiently while reducing our environmental impact,” said Jason Evans, Manager of fleet service.

“The Echo robot has reduced the travel time of turf operations staff allowing the allocation of staff to other areas, which will help reduce our carbon footprint.  As well the turf quality and cut have met expectations, making the introduction of the ECHO mower a success”.  Said Tim Wolfe Manager of Parks Operations, Forestry and Cemetery Division.

The Echo TM200 is proving to be an efficient cost-effective tool that provides a high level of service for the city’s turf fields. City staff is now looking for future opportunities that could allow the implementation of additional electric fully automated mowers.

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