This robot is designed to clear the court
In a typical tennis practise session, a lot of balls end up strewn about the court. Bending over and picking them all up is just part of the deal – but perhaps it doesn't have to be, if the ball-collecting Tennibot reaches production.
According to its Boston-based creators, Tennibot uses computer vision and artificial intelligence (along with a wide-angle camera) to autonomously roam the court, locating and sucking up tennis balls, then depositing them in its removable 80-ball-capacity rear bucket. Along with using its own onboard sensors to find its way around, it also wirelessly communicates with an included net-post-mounted "Tennibot station," which is a camera that continuously tracks the robot's location.
If users don't want Tennibot getting underfoot as they're practising, they can utilize an accompanying iOS/Android app to stipulate what part of the court it should stick to. That app can also be used to manually remotely-control the device, should users feel the need.
Tennibot travels at 1.4 mph (2.3 km/h), and can reportedly run for four to five hours on one 90-minute charge of its battery. When it's time to leave, the 25-lb (11-kg) robot can be lifted at one end by its built-in handle, and wheeled like a suitcase.
Should you be interested, Tennibot is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of US$650 will get you one, with delivery estimated for next January if everything works out. The planned retail price is $1,000.
Tennibot can be seen in action, in the video below.