As a kid, snow brought bounds of excitement, spending the day building snow forts, booking it down a hill on an overcrowded sled, planning a snow ball sneak attack on unsuspecting family members, and ending the day with a warm glass of hot cocoa.
Now, snow means shoveling, plowing, and tricky commutes to work, among other things. Welcome Left Hand Robotics’ autonomous snow-clearing bot, who is here to help with the wintry workload.
Called the SnowBot Pro, its path data is first captured during the off-season. Users walk all pathways and capture GPS data with a Path Collection Tool, which is then uploaded to the cloud-based Robot Operations Center (ROC). There, the data is manipulated into a path program for the robot, so when the snow hits, the bot is ready to take action.
During the winter, operators are needed to transport the robot, and press start on the ROC app. Then, the self-driving bot sheds the human assistance and gets to work after it downloads its path program with its onboard computers. Operators can always monitor SnowBot Pro in real time via the app or the ROC web dashboard.
Sensors help with navigation, obstacle detection, and documentation while it removes snow. The full range of sensors is below:
- Navigation: Two GPS RTK with cm accuracy, gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer.
- Obstacle Detection: Two lidar sensors, radar sensor with frequency of 78 GHz, contact sensors, and six cameras.
- Documentation: Front- and rear-facing cameras, and an air temperature information sensor.
Using its navigation sensor arsenal, SnowBot Pro will stop once someone walks in its path. If, however, it encounters and unusual obstacle, it’ll notify the ROC, which will then send instructions on how to move forward.
During its job, the bot can capture location and weather data, as well as take before and after shots of a job well done.
As deliveries began late 2018, the SnowBot Pro is already a sold-out commodity. When winter rolls around again, the price for one is $32,995 plus an annual software subscription.