This story will probably make you say, "Why didn't I think of that?"
Think a Roomba... with 4-Wheel Drive... and snow tires.
It's a SNOWbot: a self-driving, GPS-enabled, 4-Wheel Drive snow-clearing autonomous robot.
And it's the creation of Left Hand Robotics in Longmont.
The City of Boulder is part of a pilot program with the robotics company, which means they'll get one in the next few months to begin testing it out.
If everything goes as planned, the Snowbots will be available by next winter.
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The Snowbot Pro utilizes a rotary brush to clear snow off sidewalks and pathways. It's a fully hydraulic machine equipped with a 28 horsepower gasoline engine (similar in size to a lawn tractor).
It's fully autonomous and detects obstacles, according to its creators, and is built specifically for clearing snow from sidewalks and pathways. It can also put down de-icer.
The engineers at Left Hand say it uses real-time, kinetic GPS technology, along with other sensor fusion technologies, to do object detection and path navigation.
If you're thinking about getting one for Grandma for Christmas next year, be warned, however.
They come with a pretty hefty pricetag, so Left Hand Robotics thinks mostly companies and cities will buy them.
The price? $32,000.
So, for now, it's probably cheaper to keep paying the neighbor kid to clear your driveway... but, a homeowner can dream, right?