Robotic lawn mower developer acquired by Ohio company

Precise Path Robotics Inc., the locally based maker of robotic lawn mowers co-founded by entrepreneur Scott Jones, has been sold to one of the country's largest manufacturers of outdoor power equipment, the companies announced Wednesday.

MTD Products Inc., the Cleveland-based parent company of Cub Cadet, Troy-Bilt, Remington and Yard Machines, quietly acquired Precise Path late last year. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Precise Path, which has 15 full-time employees, is expected to remain in Indianapolis as an MTD engineering center that handles research and development and low-volume manufacturing.

"As a new center of engineering excellence within MTD focused on growth markets, we expect investment in the Indianapolis facility and its operations will only increase as the market for outdoor robotic equipment grows," company officials said in a statement.  

Precise Path sells the world’s only commercially available robotic greens mower, the RG3, which is designed specifically for golf course putting greens.

The company uses patented robotic technologies that could be developed for use in a variety of outdoor and indoor environments, including sports fields, residential lawns and warehouses.

Those technologies allow the RG3 to travel in straight lines and along curved perimeters without an operator, enabling golf superintendents to achieve consistent course conditions while reducing operating costs.

The basis of the guidance system was developed in 2004 by Doug Traster. Traster and Jones started a Carmel company called Indy Robot Racing to enter a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. The department was seeking systems to steer driverless vehicles for the military.

Jones and Traster parlayed the technology into Precise Path Robotics in 2007. The company received multiple rounds of venture capital funding, totaling at least $6.5 million.

MTD was founded in Cleveland in 1932 as a tool and die maker and branched into lawn equipment in the 1950s. The private company has more than 6,000 employees and brings in annual revenue of more than $1.2 billion.

“Robotic … technologies have the power to transform the world of outdoor power equipment, and we look forward to bringing the benefit of these new innovations to our consumer and trade customers,” MTD Products CEO Rob Moll said in a statement.

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