Goats, pens, shepherds, and robots — just a normal day at parks in Tuscaloosa. The City Council of Tuscaloosa has struck a deal with My Goat Inc., a company that manufactures and distributes robotic lawn mowers cleverly called “goats”, to be deployed in Annette Shelby Park, University Boulevard Park, and Queen City Avenue Park for 24/7 lawn maintenance.
Set for a trial period of 3 years, the city of Tuscaloosa will be purchasing the software in order to control the robot goat mowers while the company and manufacturer, My Goat Inc., will be in charge of the maintenance responsibility of these robotic goats. Highlighting the whimsical side of the company, its marketing team called “shepherds” will be setting the robots and their “pens” up, which are controlled by underground wires acting as their barriers. A disclaimer though, these robots do not actually look like goats, but they function as one by way of “grazing” grass.
The robotic goats are meant to cut turf-level grass and maintain it 24/7 once the desired height has been achieved, thus trimming down the labor of city workers as overgrown grass won’t be a problem any longer. It’s also good to note that no city worker will lose their job as the robots are programmed to only trim and maintain the grass whereas the city crews will continue to handle specialized landscaping and edging.
On the issue of possible theft, these robotic goats have built-in global positioning systems that can alert the city of their locations should they be displaced. Should this happen, the robots out of their “pens” will also automatically shut down.
Jarrod Milligan, the acting director of Tuscaloosa’s Infrastructure and Public Services, believes that these robots are an investment that can give the city savings and cut down expenses for taxpayers in terms of lowered fuel costs for the mowers, maintaining or purchasing equipment, and overall manpower.
These robot goat mowers may be meant for utility use and park maintenance but seeing them “graze” around parks also make for an attraction that would definitely be a sight to see. It may be time to add “see robot goats” to your list of park activities.