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Scythe Robotics surpassed an important corporate milestone this week, saying it has more than 5,000 reservations for its Scythe M.52 autonomous mower. The mowing robot is targeted at professional landscapers, enabling them to be more productive in the field.
As the company plans the expanded manufacturing necessary to deliver on the market demand, Scythe also announced the appointments of Brian Merkel, formerly head of manufacturing and production for SpaceX Starlink, as head of manufacturing for Scythe, as well as former Magic Leap lead recruiter Jen Mongeois as head of talent acquisition.
“We are on a massive trajectory for growth,” said Jack Morrison, co-founder and CEO of Scythe. “In the few short months since we announced our Series A, we have seen interest surpassing what we had imagined with a multi-year pipeline of reservation demand. Our mower, currently fielded in three states, solves labor shortages that have persisted for years and increases the productivity of landscaping crews. This all comes with the environmental benefits of zero emissions and quieter mowing, which is very important to landscapers who play a crucial role as caretakers for outdoor environments.”
The Scythe M.52 mower is unique in that it’s all electric, and it eliminates emissions from mowing entirely. The autonomous mower features a suite of sensors that enable it to operate safely in outdoor environments. The M.52 is able to accurately identify humans, animals, plants and other obstacles. The intelligence path planning software can efficiently plan the mowing operations in a field and even produce a variety of patterns on the field, including the classic checkerboard.
A human-driven lawn mower will typically mow the grass the same way every week. The M.52 can change up the mowing pattern and the drive path to avoid compacting the ground under the turf. This leads to healthier lawns.
The Scythe manufacturing team is expanding as the company ramps up production to meet the expected delivery schedule. Brian Merkel brings his extensive experience scaling production of manufacturing for SpaceX Starlink to his role as head of manufacturing at Scythe. During his time at SpaceX, he built and scaled a manufacturing organization of over 200 production associates, maintenance personnel and supporting staff that produced 5,000-10,000 dishes a week in its first year of operation. Brian also managed test engineering for crew and cargo Dragon capsules and served as a lead manufacturing engineer on the Merlin rocket engines and the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles.
“The success of Scythe’s committed reservations count showcases the pent-up demand for this technology in the landscaping industry and demonstrates M.52’s ability to solve contractors’ labor pains,” said Merkel. “These landscaping businesses are eager to transform their operations with our technology. I’m thrilled to leverage my experience to quickly scale production and help support Scythe’s important mission as we bring resources, sustainability and greater productivity to the green industry.”
As head of talent acquisition, Mongeois brings her more than 20 years of expertise in recruiting for technical and non-technical roles across hardware, software and field operations to Scythe. Her addition further advances Scythe’s cross-functional culture and collaborative approach to product design. Among her prior roles, Jen was lead recruiter at Magic Leap, an enterprise AR technology company, where she hired over 500 employees in five years.
“It’s really exciting to be part of this growing market and Scythe’s uniquely collaborative culture,” said Mongeois. “Scythe’s cross-functional team of world-class experts breaks down silos, enabling fast-paced innovation, while its mission attracts passionate talent looking to do meaningful work that has a positive impact on the world. I look forward to contributing to the transformation of this industry and aligning it with the interests and aspirations of the next-generation workforce.”