Is the Lawna mower smart or a scam?

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4 min read

Kickstarter:

Lawna is a fully automated mower robot. It is capable of setting virtual boundary lines, dividing work areas, and arranging optimal work schedules on its own using Visual AI. It doesn’t require buried perimeter wires like first gen autonomous mowers and doesn’t leave a mess behind like traditional push mowers. You don’t even have to bend down to adjust the cutter height. All the operations can be done via the app right on your phone. With Lawna, you can free yourself from the hassle of lawn maintenance, have more time to relax, and still have the most beautiful lawn in your neighborhood!

Sounds great, but Lawna does not show us how the product works. This seems insane given that a creator should be showing the backers that the product is viable and how they plan to produce it and get it into the hands of backers.

The campaign video shows Lawna moving on grass, instead of mowing the grass. It looks like a remote controlled device with a Cybertruck-inspired casing moving in the lawn.

With some smart visual effects and renders in the video, Lawna manages to convince 775 backers to pledge USD 555,000. It is quite a feat since they did not even show the most important part of a lawn mower, the blades.

Of course, several perceptive backers caught on to these red flags and raised the issues with Lawna, asking for demo videos and photos of a prototype. However, the creator promised to upload the demos but have yet to do so, and we doubt they would.

We looked at smart lawn mowers like Luba before and it also looked sketchy.

Background check

The campaign is created by Li Xiaowei. We were unable to find any trademark or company registered for Lawna. The creators are also not transparent about their company background.

There are no full names for the rest of the team and the photos of the team members look like AI-generated pictures, except co-founder Jordan who appears in a video to talk about the project.

He looks like he is reciting a script rather than talking about his personal journey to creating Lawna. It uses a very generic story of him wanting a product and creating it himself, then goes on to list marketing features of the Lawna without going into the specifics of technical details like an inventor would.

Red flags 🚩

There are so many red flags with this campaign that it is most likely a scam.

  • Team members with only first names, no transparency of who they are
  • No company information
  • No prototype demo; only renders on the campaign page and what looks like just a casing in the promotional video
  • No reliable third party reviews
  • Unable to provide technical answers to critical technical questions
  • Comments that look suspiciously like bots or fake accounts by the team to bury comments from backers asking for accountability
  • Price point does not make sense for what the product promises to deliver
  • Unfeasible delivery date. If they are serious about delivering on time, they would already have prototypes or small batch production units to show in demo videos.
  • Deleting unfavourable comments that criticise or ask them to be accountable.

Is it a scam?

We will know in a month or two whether LawnaTech delivers on their promise. However, the red flags above indicate that it is highly likely that this is a scam.

It would be very frustrating if it turns out to really be a scam. Several backers kept posting in the comments to warn other backers of the red flags, but they were ignored or many backers don’t really check the comments section.

If it is a scam campaign, then we should be asking Kickstarter how a campaign with so many red flags can still operate a campaign on the platform and walk away with the money.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/lawnatech/lawna-the-smart-cyber-mower-with-visual-ai/description

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