Naperville Park District to Bring Autonomous Mowers to 3 Parks
Thursday, March 30, 2023
Naperville Park District is taking a step toward greater efficiency and environmental sustainability this spring by introducing and testing the use of autonomous mowers in three parks. The District is contracting with a Naperville-based company, Havenshine Technologies, Inc., that will provide the mowers and staff to supervise the mowers in each park. The autonomous mowers will operate at White Eagle Park, 3140 White Eagle Drive, Kingshill Park, 4271 White Eagle Drive, and Monarch Park, 1585 White Eagle Drive, beginning in April.
"We are researching the use of autonomous mowers and we are impressed by their safety, efficiency and potential for improving our overall maintenance of turf fields," explained Director of Parks Tim Quigley. "This spring we will be evaluating this new technology on a contract basis."
When a mower is operating in a park, a contract staff member is always present to oversee the mower. Each mower is programmed for the specific site, uses GPS, and has sensors that can detect obstacles and shut down the mower if needed. Staff also can turn off the mower at any time with a remote switch. The mowers are electric, zero-turn machines and the other equipment used by staff also is electric, with no greenhouse gas emissions and no potential for gasoline or oil leaks.
In the future, the Park District has the option of using multiple autonomous mowers simultaneously at a park for greater efficiency. The mowers help fill in gaps due to the current labor shortage and also help the staff on site to accomplish more work than would be possible with a traditional riding mower.
As noted above, the three parks where autonomous mowers will operate are located in the White Eagle area. A sign will be posted at the park entrance when the mowers are in use.
A video showing a mower in action at a park is available at https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7044315405749784577/.