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SuperDroid fields remote control snow plow

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February 15, 2014

The SuperDroid snow plow in action

The SuperDroid snow plow in action

Image Gallery (8 images)

In the southeast United States, snow storms are as about as common as canoes on Mount Everest, which is what makes the current task of digging the region out from under the recent deposit of the white stuff so irksome. To aid the inexperienced snow shoveler, SuperDroid of Raleigh, North Carolina is selling a remote-controlled robotic snow plow that allows you to clear the drive while sitting where it’s warm with a cup of cocoa.

Retailing for US$8,000, the bespoke six-wheel drive robot isn't autonomous, but is controlled by a hand-held remote unit. Given that snow plowing is a job that requires a surprising degree of skill, this is a good thing. When clearing snow, you don’t want something that takes a random path over the area or can’t handle the variations in hardness and texture that snow can exhibit. And you certainly don’t want something weighting 393 lbs (178 kg) and sporting a 52-in (132 cm) steel blade running loose around parked cars.

The robotic snow plow is based on a welded 3/16-in (4.7 mm) aluminum chassis and measures 63.5 in (161 cm) long. Powered by two 12 V batteries, each of the six wheels equipped with tiller tires has an electric IG90 24VDC 127 RPM gear motor with chain-coupled axles for better traction. According to SuperDroid, this arrangement is strong enough to tow a pickup truck.

The SuperDroid snow plow has an on-board compresser

Meanwhile, at the business end is the plow, which is actuated by a pneumatic system that is recharged by an on-board compressor. This allows the plow to raise and lower on command, and it can be angled manually. Control of the entire vehicle is through a Spektrum DSMX DX6i transmitter with a fail-safed Spektrum R9020 9-Channel DSMX X-Plus receiver. The robot can also mount 80 W headlamps for night operations.

SuperDroid says that the only available robot has been sold, but that it is taking offers to build others for next year. The company says that these can be built to bespoke specifications and equipped with extras, such as a snow blower, cameras, additional batteries, and internet control.

The video below shows the robot snow plow in action.

Source: SuperDroid via Gadgetify

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
9 Comments

That's cool. Scale it up in size and you can have automated snow plowers for cities,towns and other areas/locations.

hungrygiraffe
16th February, 2014 @ 02:19 pm PST

What about a couple of counter rotating brushes on the back to get the clingy bits that the plow misses?

Snake Oil Baron
16th February, 2014 @ 04:58 pm PST

$8,000 for the robot or $80 for a human.

JSmith
16th February, 2014 @ 05:15 pm PST

Stick a small gen/set on top of the battery box (recharging) and add fittings to hook it up so it can push a lawnmower the rest of the year and you would have a winner!

The Skud
16th February, 2014 @ 06:28 pm PST

If I've got to be outside directing the robot, would rather stay warm and shovel.

Drifter
16th February, 2014 @ 09:05 pm PST

I'd like to see it clear some real snow, not the sprinkling that it had to deal with in the video, which, I might add, seems to have fallen when there wasn't any wind blowing it into drifts. Even without any wind, I really cannot see it coping with anything like a proper snowfall.

I suppose that anyone who liked ice-skating would get plenty of opportunity to do so on the shiny bits where it had spent its time spinning its wheels before the person controlling it gave it up as an impossible task.

Perhaps if it had a blower(s) instead of a blade, it might be possible to 'machine' a path though the stuff, taking several runs at it to do so, but there is only so much one can do with a couple of twelve-volt batteries.

Mel Tisdale
17th February, 2014 @ 06:05 am PST

This looks like a terrific toy, as long you can afford an $8000. toy. But although most folks who live in states suddenly beset with miserable weather don't know from snow plows, they definitely do know lawn tractors. It seems to me that an inexpensive snowblower attachment, coupled with an inexpensive snow blade would be a whole serious bunch cheaper solution.

Cynthia Gurin
17th February, 2014 @ 09:01 am PST

this thing doesn't look autonomous.

I don't see any scanners, no cameras, no feelers...nothing. This looks like it's nothing more than an RC vehicle. At most, it's an outdoors roomba. It is certainly *NOT* an robot, and it's *NOT* a "droid" in any sense of the word.

Ed
24th February, 2014 @ 12:56 pm PST

It is a beginning. Automated vehicles will become more able and less expensive as time passes. Think of it like automobiles. Before ford winked an eye there were numerous types of cars being sold and most were sort of wretched in quality. But as time passed cars became pretty darned nice.

It won't be long before a machine that can shovel your snow can also cook your breakfast and maybe drive you to work as well if any jobs are left for human kind.

Jim Sadler
22nd July, 2014 @ 03:29 pm PDT
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