Robotics

Snowbot S1 could be your own snow-blowing robot

Snowbot S1 could be your own s...
The Snowbot S1 is made to autonomously clear snow from large areas such as parking lots
The Snowbot S1 is made to autonomously clear snow from large areas such as parking lots
View 3 Images
The Snowbot S1 can be set to automatically recharge its battery at a docking station
1/3
The Snowbot S1 can be set to automatically recharge its battery at a docking station
The Snowbot S1 is made to autonomously clear snow from large areas such as parking lots
2/3
The Snowbot S1 is made to autonomously clear snow from large areas such as parking lots
The Snowbot S1 is reportedly capable of throwing snow up to a distance of 12 feet (3.7 m), and can remove snow up to 12 inches deep (305 mm)
3/3
The Snowbot S1 is reportedly capable of throwing snow up to a distance of 12 feet (3.7 m), and can remove snow up to 12 inches deep (305 mm)
View gallery - 3 images

Although using a snow blower may be easier than shovelling, even pushing a blower around can be tiring if you have a large area to clear. That's where the Snowbot S1 comes in – it's a snow-blowing robot that's designed to do the job all on its own.

Not related to the prototype SnowBot that we covered in 2019, the Snowbot S1 is a battery-powered, rubber-tracked autonomous vehicle which is about to enter the beta testing phase. Although you could use it on your sidewalk, it's intended more for large spaces such as parking lots.

Users start by setting up three ultra-wideband radio beacon poles, one at each of three corners of the square or rectangular area in question. A fourth pole on the robot receives signals emitted by those beacons, and uses them to triangulate its current location within that area. This allows it to establish a snow-clearing route, which it dutifully follows.

If the area is irregularly shaped, users can utilize an iOS/Android app to manually set the route. It's also possible to manually control the S1 in real time, using an included radio remote control unit.

The Snowbot S1 can be set to automatically recharge its battery at a docking station
The Snowbot S1 can be set to automatically recharge its battery at a docking station

Depending on whether the robot is moving over a paved or gravel surface, the snow is initially removed by either a scraper or a rotating brush. A hard rubber auger then channels the snow out of the 360-degree adjustable-angle chute. The S1 is reportedly capable of throwing snow up to a distance of 12 feet (3.7 m), and can remove snow up to 12 inches deep (305 mm). It automatically adjusts its speed from 0 to 1.3 feet (0.4 m) per second, depending on the depth of the snow.

Utilizing LiDAR sensors, the robot is claimed to be capable of detecting obstacles, and will automatically stop and sound an audible alert if any are in its path. It will also stop if its auger gets clogged with wet snow, branches or other debris. One two-hour charge of its 36V/31.2-Ah lithium-ion battery is said to be good for about 1.5 hours of use. The whole rig weighs approximately 143 lb (65 kg) and is IP35 waterproof, meaning it's protected from low-pressure jets of water from any direction.

The Snowbot company is currently inviting applications for beta testers, who will provide feedback on using the S1 in real-world conditions. Individuals who are chosen will buy a beta version of the S1 for a discounted price of US$1,999, plus they'll receive a free production version of the robot once it's available.

That production model, the Snowbot S1 Pro, should be available as of next November for $2,999.

You can see the S1 in action, in the following video.

Snowbot, The autonomous snow blower keeps your driveway snow-free.

Source: Snowbot

View gallery - 3 images
6 comments
6 comments
guzmanchinky
What a great idea for people who maybe can't shovel snow or run a snowblower because they are older or have injuries.
vince
You can buy a half dozen Green Works 80V snow blowers for the price of just one of these. No thanks. I can buy a Greenworks and pay a kid to blow the snow for years for the same price as this robot. And this robot will have nothing but problems as the snow clogs up repeatedly and then alerts the heck out of the owner to get his coat on and come clear the clog. The world isn't ready for this yet.
Username
Hopefully the lidar does not get confused by falling snow. Since the bot can only handle a foot at a time it would need to be deployed both during a heavy snowfall and after. Separately I really like the little cottage it's clearing a path to!
vince
Auto bots snow blowers would never work. You know why? Because snow varies with moisture and temperature from light fluffy to frozen water to heavy thick compacting snow. Thus snow blowers frequently--and I do mean frequently--require cleaning snow out of the blades as they jam up with snow. A robot can't do that at least not yet.
michael_dowling
As Vince has said,battery powered blowers have been on the market for a few years now,and the best are equal to a gas powered machine,without the noise or pollution. My neighbors hire year round property maintenance,and I have to put up with super loud gas leaf-blowers that these companies tend to use.
Jinpa

I don't see how this Snowbot would manage to clear an area wider than 24 ft without having to re-throw show that it put on top of uncleared areas, which would soon exceed its design capacity. I think the sales people didn't run their blather by the engineers after the wrote it.