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Autonomous bot is good to go, for clearing snow

If there’s one thing that many North American cities need this winter, it’s help in snow removal. That’s likely why Colorado-based Left Hand Robotics is currently sold out of its SnowBot Pro, which autonomously brushes snow off of sidewalks while avoiding pedestrians.

Users start by walking the path that they wish the SnowBot to travel, carrying a Path Collection Tool with them as they do so. This records the path as a series of GPS waypoints, which are uploaded to the cloud-based Robot Operations Center (ROC). There, the GPS data is transformed into a “path program,” utilizing technology developed by Swift Navigation.

When it’s time for the SnowBot to take action, it accesses the ROC and downloads that program. An integrated inertial measurement unit (a combination accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer) also helps it to stay properly oriented. And should its two LiDAR sensors and six cameras detect any obstacles in its path, the bot will automatically stop and then notify the ROC, which will send instructions for getting around the obstacle.
The actual snow removal is handled by a spinning front broom, which can be angled to either side. An optional rear attachment can also be used to spread salt or de-icer. Power is provided by a 37-hp Vanguard Model 61E gasoline engine – the SnowBot is definitely a burlier device than products such as the SuperDroid robotic snow plow, or the SnowBYTE.

Users are able to monitor its progress in real time, via the ROC web dashboard or mobile app. They can additionally view before and after photos of each snow-clearing job, which the bot automatically shoots and records.

The SnowBot Pro hit the market this winter (Northern Hemisphere) and as has already been mentioned, the company is now sold out for the season. Should you be interested in getting one for next winter, though, it’s priced at US$35,995.