Toro this week announced its intentions to acquire Left Hand Robotics. The Colorado-based startup (not to be confused with Righthand Robotics) is a natural fit for the lawn mowing giant, as the producer of the RT-1000, an autonomous system capable of mowing large lawns and clearing snow from sidewalks.
Toro is best known for its personal and professional mowers and various other landscaping machines. The company also has some experience in the robotic category, beating various competitors to the punch by a decade or two with its iMow, but those efforts don’t appear to have made a major dent in its overall offerings.
Left Hand’s primary offering targets professionals. It’s already a category for its new parent company, though it’s easy to see how it might scale down as personal mowers gain in popularity. The RT-1000 is a fully autonomous system designed for a variety of weather conditions that could make a more compact version an appealing option for users — assuming the companies are able to shrink the cost accordingly.
The acquisition comes as companies like John Deere are strategizing their own approach toward robotics, while devoted companies like iRobot have begun to explore the space. Although iRobot’s own mower was delayed due to COVID-19, the Roomba maker believes it has cracked what’s proven to be a difficult market for many.
Left Hand has raised $8.9 million to date. Details of the transaction have not been disclosed.