Valley City, Ohio – During a demo event, Cub Cadet and MTD Products showcased some of its latest product offerings, including Cub Cadet XR3, a robotic mowing product the company has been testing for the past year since MTD Products merged with F. Robotics Acquisitions Ltd.
"This year has been an exciting one," said Adam Ference, marketing director at MTD Products. "Our insightful consumer research paired with progressive Cub Cadet dealers has enabled us to launch a new product, technology and business model from which we are learning and enhancing the program to be an even larger success moving forward."
Since MTD products merged with F. Robotics Acquisitions about one year ago, the company has slowly expanded its robotic mower product in the U.S. Previously, F. Robotics Acquisitions' robotic mower was sold primarily in Europe. Through the merger, the robotic mower technology and Cub Cadet XR3 joined MTD’s broader outdoor power equipment lineup. It also helped introduce the technology into America.
Today, the company is testing Cub Cadet XR3 in about two dozen dealer locations in the U.S. According to Cub Cadet, the product has been popular in areas like Austin, Texas; Detroit; and Wichita, Kansas.
"The future plans for Cub Cadet robotic mowers involve expanding the program into other areas of the United States that we have identified as 'hot spots' for robotic mower interest," Ference said. "We plan on also expanding the product line to additional lawn size options as well as enhanced feature sets that will increase performance and ease of use."
Cub Cadet XR3, which is powered by a rechargeable battery, goes out periodically to mow a property based on an algorithm. An underground wire fence provides the mower with boundaries. The mowers also have GPS chips in them to notify Cub Cadet of the mowers’ locations – if a mower is missing, the company can notify the user of theft and locate it. In addition, Cub Cadet says its XR3 is expected to have a five- to seven-year lifespan.
Cub Cadet says this technology could grow in demand with more Millennial homeowners who are more willing to embrace technology. Also, the company says this technology could help Baby Boomers as they age and need help to do their own lawn work.
According to Cub Cadet, the technology is primarily geared toward consumers today, but they say it could be applicable to contractors as a tool to lease to homeowners in the future.
The company also demoed its Challenger UTVs, which can be used by contractors for personal use or for traveling around jobsites.
“Since landscapers value utility and flexibility, many of the latest features on the Cub Cadet Challenger series were added to extend the number of tasks the vehicles can handle,” said Tom Mielke, product marketing manager at MTD Products.
Mielke said the Challengers can be used to haul mulch and tools in spring and they can be outfitted with a snowplow and salt spreader to handle winter maintenance jobs. He said the company is also looking into additional contractor attachments for these UTVs, such as spreader or sprayer tools to help lawn care professionals.
For contractors that maintain sports turf or fields, Cub Cadet demoed its Infinicut, which provides precise cuts for golf or sports turf. The company said it is particularly useful for precision and quality, such as cuts that need to be 1/16 inch. Contractors can also use this tool for aeration. The Infinicut runs on a lithium ion battery that lasts about 4.5 hours, but contractors can also use gas if preferred.
In addition, Cub Cadet showcased its Pro Series snow throwers, including the 3X PRO Series snow thrower. The company said contractors can use these to plow smaller spaces trucks or utility vehicles can’t access.
The snow thrower uses a three-stage system to plow through snow up to 50 percent faster than a two-stage system. The company offers either 30- or 34-inch clearing widths with a 23-inch intake height. Both have hydrostatic transmissions. The snow thrower also includes heated hand grips for operator comfort.
For the upcoming winter season, the company said it plans to add additional LED lights to its 3X PRO Series snow thrower to give contractors more visibility on jobsites.