Soon there’ll be a robot to do everything …
24 December 2021
Ok, so I guess I lied when I said I was going to take this week off to spend more time with family and friends. But I just ran across something I thought looked pretty cool — and wish I had when I lived in Michigan and Minnesota. There could *possibly* be a place for it here in the Texas panhandle as we get an average annual snowfall of 13" but but the ROI would probably outlive me.
So what’s all the excitement about? Another smart home robot — the Snowbot S1. Those of you either up north or from there can probably relate as the vision I have in my head is a Roomba that removes the snow from your driveway and sidewalks. There have been a lot of mornings I wish I had this when Debbie and I lived up north — to just eliminate the getting up extra early to shovel or snow blow the driveway — would have been worth it. Not to mention all the stuff you have to put on to stay warm that time of day. I bet astronauts don’t suit up as much to go on a space walk.
Unlike manual gasoline or electric snow blowers, Snowbot is a fully automated snow blowing machine. You can stay in the house and let Snowbot do the work. Snowbot’s navigation system is composed of 4 UWB (Ultra Wideband) positioning terminals (3 as signal sender and 1 as receiver) like many of the robotic lawnmowers out there in order to know where work. By creating countless waypoints in the snow removal area, it achieves centimeter-level accuracy on maintaining the path.
With the autonomous navigation system and advanced positioning algorithm, Snowbot is able to automatically plan its cleaning path. After positioning the beacons at 3 points, there will be a default snow removal area. You can also use the remote controller to customize an area according to your preferences.
After the cleaning area is confirmed, Snowbot will remove the snow by maintaining the route and selected area. The unique positioning algorithm keeps it staying on course while working.
If you need to remove snow in different areas, or in areas with weird shapes, you can set different cleaning plans to complete the snow removal. By connecting Snowbot with its mobile app, you can easily set different cleaning plans according to your preferences.
Snowbot S1 is built with a 360° rotating chute that can throw the snow in any direction, even thrown to a snow pile given by the user. After the snow pile is designated, the movable snow thrower can adjust the direction intelligently in real-time to ensure the snow ends up in the area. The throwing distance is up to 12 feet.
And for you gamers out there, as I mentioned above, with the remote control, cleaning is not limited by automatic cleaning plans. You can change the direction of Snowbot, start or stop it, and change the snow throwing direction using the controller. Judging by outdoor cold weather games like curling and frozen lake racing, it’s just a matter of time until the Snowbot Racing League emerges. You heard it here first. I’m pretty competitive but I’d be happy hiding in my warm smart house and chasing dogs walkers or blowing snow on joggers.
Snowbot is powered by lithium-ion batteries which consume less energy. A full charge can work for 1.5 hours and clean an area of about 1500 square feet (for snow depth of 5 inches). What’s more, it is environmentally-friendly, and does not produce any harmful emission that is caused by burning gasoline.
In normal mode, the snow removal speed is intelligently set according to the depth of snow to ensure the best performance of the robot. The moving speed ranges from 0 to 1.31 ft/s. Snowbot S1 can remove snow as deep as 12 inches easily from your yard or driveway. But when it meets deep snow, sprint snow removal mode will be activated. That is, Snowbot moves back and goes forward at a higher speed.
As I’ve never used a Snowbot or even seen one in action, I have to admit I’m not sure what that means. But having lived up north and knowing how hard it can snow, I’d imagine the Snowbot may use up it’s 1.5 hours of battery before it gets most jobs done. As the average 2-car driveway in the US is 16 x 40 feet, or a total of 640 square feet, Snowbot might just be able to get the job done before it need to recharge.
If you’re tired of the hassle of snow removal you might want to think about getting a Snowbot as the weather is starting to head that way. Maybe a good idea for my brother up in Massachusetts as we’re not getting any younger.
It’s hard not to be intrigued by Snowbot S1, even if it will cost you $3,599. But they have a beta test program if you’re not really sure. Either way I’d be interested in whether this is something you’d actually consider. Pretty sure it’s not the way I’m headed as our snowfall here is very manageable but I do like the idea. Which is why I’ll be writing more about robot lawn mowers as I see us getting one of those.
Debbie and I wish you all a safe and merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Until next week …
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