MUKILTEO — Here comes Darth Blader.
Robots are taking over the earth. Your help is needed.
What’s up with that?
The city of Mukilteo is having a naming contest for its new $75,000 remote-operated robotic mower.
The RC Mowers R-52 is a relentless romping-chomping machine. “Beast in the wild,” the Wisconsin manufacturing company’s site says.
There is no residency requirement to enter a name. There is no prize, either, aside from being the one who named the beast.
Deadline is Saturday. A survey will let the community rank the submitted names, which so far has included Mukilteo Muncher and Red Rover.
Mukilteo spokesperson Nick Nehring said the mower was purchased by the Surface Water Utility with funding by a Department of Ecology Capacity Grant.
The 7-foot, 1,850-pound beast started munching this month with its fierce teeth biting through rough terrain and taking on challenging slopes.
“The majority of the mower’s workload will be to help maintain stormwater facilities and reduce staff time,” Nehring said. ”The stormwater crew has made great strides in maintaining the facilities and other areas that need vegetation management in the city.”
The mower that always shows up to work on time and never takes a break or complains deserved a nametag, just like the other employees.
“The idea came from our Stormwater division as a fun community outreach effort,” Nehring said.
Other cities have had mower naming contests.
A recent contest in Ohio drew numerous naming entries for its RC Mowers beast that maintains a flood protection system with five dams and 55 miles of levees. Top five contenders for the $100 gift card prize include Darth Blader and Trim Reaper.
In 2017, a Lynden, Washington, contest to name a $3,500 robot lawn mower had a $250 gift card prize. Over 160 names were submitted for the Husqvarna mower that was more of a beauty than a beast. The winning name “Maaier,” pronounced Meyer, means mower in English.
Need ideas for the Mukilteo monster?
A story on smarterideas.com cites “the importance of naming your robot lawn mower” to create a sense of attachment and personality for the machine. The list of suggestions includes Sodzilla, Sir Lawnsalot, Mr. Mowjangles, Hedge Hog, Forest Clump, Robocrop, R2Mow2, Marilyn Monrobot and Mr. Mow-it-all.
Of 303 responses, Snowbi Wan Kenobi, the “Star Wars”-inspired name, won by a Wookie’s nose of seven votes.
Plowy McPlowface — an offshoot of the internet-inspired Boaty McBoatface that won a popular vote for a British polar research ship — was the name of another smaller snow plow.