Self Driveing Lawn Mower Remote Control Autonomous Lawn Mower Using RaspberryPi




About: iOS Developer, Love to create and hack. Internet of things enthusiast. Cocoa Head, Tech geek, @StartUpGrindUtah #IoT #3Dprinting #runner

Have you heard of #twitchPlaysPokemon? Well that was some of the inspiration behind this project #googleMowsMyLawn. This project was an idea that my brothers and I had and wanted to do for a little while. When StartFest had a hackathon, we were provided with the perfect opportunity to build it.

The rules were simple: make a gigabit app. That means that it either had to be low latency or that large amounts of data were to be transferred. We were given 24 hrs to complete the project. Other stipulations that we had imposed on ourselves were that all the products that we used had to be off the shelf. So the implementation we used was not the only way to accomplish these things, but it was the fastest. We now hope to improve and expand on this project's abilities.

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Step 1: Parts List

1. Eletric Lawn Mower

Ryobi 20 in. 40-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Walk-Behind Electric Lawn Mower 499.00

2. Two Drills

Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ 1/2 in. Cordless Hammer Drill 69.00/ea

3. Ryobi 18-Volt ONE+ Compact Radio with Bluetooth Wireless Technology 39.97

4. Three Batteries high performing

Ryobi 18-Volt One+ High Capacity LITHIUM+ Battery 99.00/ea

5. Two metal casters 5.48

3 in. Steel Swivel Caster

6. Two 4in Hole Dozer Hole Saw with Arbor 12.97/ea

7. Raspberry Pi 2 micro Computer 35.95

8. Eight channel relay board 18.10

9. Tripod with iPhone Mounts

10. Two iPods 199.00/ea

11. 18-Volt One+ 6-Port SuperCharger 79.00

12. Zip Ties

13. Four 3"-1/4 bolts with locking washer and nut

14. Eight 1/2" 1" bolts and nuts

Step 2: The Lawn Mower

We chose this lawnmower because it was in the family of Ryobi products and it had enough space to work on the inside. We wanted to keep everything inside the same family of products so that we could swap batteries for any part of our project.

First you need to take off all the unnecessary parts. You are going to need a set of star screw drivers to do this. There are several screws all around the lawn mower holding the green plastic body on to the lower chassis. You will need a star screw driver to get these screws off. Once removed you can take the outer shell off but there is one cord that is attached form the top and bottom pieces. Luckily, there is a quick release clip that you can squeeze to release it. Once that is off, you will see the inside of that race-car-looking lawnmower is composed of nothing more than a motor power distributor and a clip to the battery connection on the top half.

There is a wire that runs up the handle so that you can instruct it you are going to mow and have both hands on the handle. You will unscrew all the plastic tabs holding that on and take apart the button mechanism on the handle. There are 6 star screws on the back. You only need to take out the bottom 4. Once open you can take the two switches out and feed the wire all the way back into the main chassis. This will later be bypassed and hooked up too our relay board so that the raspberryPi can control it.

Now you can remove the two bolts that hold the handle on. It should be looking like a sweet race car. Remove the back flap by popping off the clip on the end of the metal rod that acts as a hinge for the door. Slide that rod out and the door will fall off.

Step 3: Front Wheels and Steering

Normally when you mow your lawn, to make a turn you push the handle down so the front end lifts up and you rotate the lawn mower. That will not work here as there wont be a handle on the finished product. So we need to remove the front wheels and the axle that connects them too the chassis.

Once they are removed, take the metal casters and attach them to the plastic that protrudes out the front of the lawn mower. These wheels swivel a full 360 degrees making them perfect for enabling better movement of the lawnmower. Drill 4 holes that line up with the hole pattern on the casters. Then take 4 1" bolts, a locking washer and a nut for each to secure the wheels to the mower. This is one thing that we will be changing on the next iteration because this lifts the lawn mower a considerable distance off the ground.

Step 4: Onto the Drills

The drills are the most important part of the project. First you need to take the drills apart. We need to make it so we can trigger the drills. The easiest way is to create a trigger between the batteries and the motor. Once you have the outer casing off you can see there are three main parts: the Motor, the trigger mechanism and the battery terminal hook up. We want to disconnect the battery so we can toggle it with our relays giving us the ability to drive. Disconnect the black wire from the trigger mechanism to the contacts.Then take two wires and solder one end to the black wire. Take the other wire and solder an end to where the black wire attaches to the trigger mechanism. Then you can put it all back together inside the drill and just drill a little hole for your wire extensions to make it out. I made my wires about 15" long so I could house the electronics inside the lawn mower.

Step 5: Attaching the Rear Wheels

Once you have taken off the rear wheels, we need to attach them to the drills. This is where the whole saw bits come into play. So take the 3" hole saw bits and line them up with the center of the wheel. There are these awesome holes conveniently on the back to line the up. Take a 1/4" bit and drill into the wheels. Then take some 3" 1/4 bolts and pass them through the bit and then though the wheel. Take a washer, a locking washer, and a nut to secure it and tighten them down. Now you can take the bit and put it into the drill and tighten it down just like any other bit.

Now you're ready to attach the drills to the chassis.

Step 6: Attaching the Rear Wheels to the Chassis

Now that you have the entire drill assembly put together you can secure them to the back of the lawn mower. You want this to cut grass so make sure the clearance is 1 - 2". There is an attachment that comes with the drills that bolts on an external handle for more control. We heated this up to get the nut out of it and then used the bolt to secure the drill to the back of the lawn mower.

Drill a 1/4" hole mid level of the lawn mower then take the extra attachment bolt and slide it through the Drill and lawnmower. Place a washer and the nut on the other side. Drill another hole at the same height on the opposite side for the other wheel and attach the other drill. This makes a pivot point. To keep the drills from rotating drill some more holes and pass zip ties through to tighten them down.

Step 7: RaspberryPi and Relay Board

Time for the brains of this whole thing. We used the raspberryPi to control all of our logic and a relay board to let us trigger the motors for driving. We had ours hooked up to a chat room and used "w","a","s","d" for directional controls. People could login to the chat room and send commands. The raspberryPi then would interpret the commands and drive the motors.

The rest is simple soldering for hooking up the relay board. Take the wires that we attached to the drills and place them in the relay terminals, securing them by screwing the terminals down.

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Step 8:

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    34 Discussions


    3 years ago on Introduction

    We'd love to have you come up to our robotics company in Logan Utah and give a demonstration! Or at least come for a tour.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    That would be really awesome to see what you guys are doing up there. It seems like you guys have some really cool things going on. The easiest way to get in contact with me is through twitter @MacMeDan just message me. Thanks again


    3 years ago

    Honestly, for an off the shelf RC robot mower in 24 hrs _and_ coming in under $1600, all with "ryobi" emblazened all over it, I think its more likely the people at ryobi corporate are asking if they can sponsor this team.

    Bob Bowie

    2 years ago

    I have developed a remote controlled lawnmower. You can view it at:

    I would like to make this mower capable of operating as a robot.

    My thought is to place the mower in "Learn Mode" and record

    coordinates/position as the mower is directed via remote control.

    After completion of the mowing in "Learn Mode", the mower would

    be placed in the same starting position and switched to

    "Playback" mode. "Playback" would be robotic mode.

    I have had success controlling the wheel chair motors under program

    control using a "Basic Stamp".

    Do you know of anyone that could help me develop an accurate

    robotic lawnmower? bbowie(at)


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Using iOS devices in a Google funded comprtition, that's a bit of an insult isn't it? LOL

    1 reply

    3 years ago

    hi guys, I'm new to the site and I'm thinking of a project and I'm wondering if an electric lawnmower motor can go in reverse, any info would be great.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome project. Just a heads up if you haven't already,Ryobi constantly has contests for various projects using their tools. I'm sure having a project made of 90% of their tools would be worth entering it in for something.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Cool but not as cool as an Internet Connected Lawnmower ;)


    3 years ago on Introduction

    that is just awesome. For some of the comments below. The wheels would not work in an actual lawn but you could easily adjust it. Even add tracks like a small tank. The software in the little wifi spy tanks could be used to map and run the thing. How ever, if you did watch the video, the idea of allowing gamers to mow his lawn is pretty cool!


    3 years ago on Step 7

    Pity you can't use the software from a Roomba to drive this!

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

    don't see why not.. could get it run the logic from Pac-Man with enough work and about 4, er 5 more builds kickstarter/kayoteq/pacmow


    3 years ago

    The front tires will not work on any yard that I care for, they are way too small to be maneuverable in tall grass and rough ground. You would have far better control if the tires were all the same size. Another problem is having to type in the commands, better to have a voice command or better yet a joy stick and a shut off button easily found at any time (for safety). Other than that it is a great idea.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    So now lets get technical and add GPS control, you have done the mechanical operations part now get into some programing to mow you lawn by it's self!!


    3 years ago on Step 4

    by now, I'm sure someone at Ryobi is saying "Yep, warranty void. Most assuradly. Absolutely, they have voided their warranties. Yep." LOL


    3 years ago on Introduction

    especially within 24 hours!

    I hope you
    do realize that robotic lawnmowers are sold since more than 20 years.

    There is an
    open source project based on arduino:

    Maybe you
    could join the project?