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Chapter 39. Drawing on a Canvas > Our Mower Is Programmable!

39.1. Our Mower Is Programmable!

For this exercise we have at our disposal a programmable robotic mower. Our job is to write a software simulation of lawnmowing. It’s exceedingly difficult to model the complexities of the physical world with a computer, so we’ll make some simplifying assumptions. First, we’ll define the lawn as a rectangular area without trees, gardens, rocks, ponds, or cats.[11] The lawn is also a perfect mowing surface without bumps or undulations, and the grass has uniform thickness; this way we know that the mower can be steered accurately. Finally, we’ll assume the mower has a turning radius of zero: that is, it can pivot. (Automatic mowers that are always going forward have a nonzero turning radius.)

[11] I once saw a solar-powered robot that mowed in a random direction until it bumped into something, at which time it took off in a new, random direction. Given enough time, it would mow any area completely. I hear these mowers use color/luminance to detect edges, so I guess my cats are safe as long as they don’t turn green.


  

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