For those of you viewing this in climates that don’t look like this, simply try to appreciate this story for the technological innovation, and relish in the fact that you’ll probably never need an autonomous snow blower to make your November through March safer and more enjoyable.
Combining some of the same systems used by autonomous driving platforms, Left Hand Robotics offers their gas-powered SnowBot Pro for clearing sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, football fields and even rooftops covered with snow.
Maybe not the last one.
But if you want to ditch the shovel and scarf, you’ll have to start prepping the SnowBot before the flakes start flying. Owners walk the soon-to-be snow-covered route with a GPS device featuring advanced accelerometer, gyroscope and real-time kinematic technology.
This allows for “learning” route location data down to the inch. This information is stored in the cloud-based Robot Operations Center, or the ROC, where it’s transformed into a path program – similar to the mapping software used by many autonomous warehouse robots.
Owners connect to the ROC with a mobile app that also allows for controlling the SnowBot. The SnowBot not only accesses the details of its route from the ROC, but can also send images to this cloud server, which owners can access in monitoring performance.
Sensors are also in place to ensure the machine’s 4’ rotating brush won’t come in contact with people or objects in its path. When it does encounter such an obstacle, it stops in place and awaits further instructions before proceeding.
It can also dispense melting salt or deicing chemicals.
The machines are currently in production, and although prices will vary based on optional equipment choices and service contracts, placing an order will require a $1,000 deposit.