6 Questions Snow Removal Pros Ask the First Time They See the SnowBot Pro

 

Left Hand Robotics CEO & Co-founder Terry Olkin answers the most commonly-asked questions we hear.

1. How big is the SnowBot Pro?

The first time snow management pros see the SnowBot Pro, they have a lot of questions. Thinking about the impact robotics can have on their industry is new to them, but it gets them excited. When prospective customers see the SnowBot Pro in person, their reaction is usually, “Wow, it’s smaller than I imagined!” In fact, because the SnowBot Pro is specifically designed for sidewalks and pathways, it has a track width of just 34”, and including the rotating broom it has an overall width of four feet (the width of a typical sidewalk).

Because there is no need to accommodate an operator, the robot’s main body is only about three feet tall, with the sensor tower extending about two more feet above the body. Its compact form factor makes it easy to transport on any typical equipment trailer, but don’t be fooled — the SnowBot is robust, it is built with commercial-grade hardware to ensure it can withstand the harsh conditions that come with snow removal. Click to watch the video above to see SnowBot Pro in action.

2. How is it navigating? Is it being driven by remote control?

The SnowBot can be driven by remote control. This functionality is part of the iOS and Android mobile app. For example, you use the remote control function of the mobile phone app to drive the SnowBot off a trailer and to its path starting point.

The SnowBot’s primary mode of navigation is self-driving. It is GPS-enabled and connects to the Internet to download a pre-programmed path it follows to clear sidewalks with down-to-the-inch accuracy. An operator starts SnowBot from the mobile phone app and walks away, letting the SnowBot get to work autonomously. From their mobile phone or web app, an operator can monitor SnowBot to see its position in real time. As it moves along its path, there may be circumstances that require the operator to manually drive the SnowBot, for example the SnowBot may stop to wait for the operator to manually drive it across a street where it can continue along its pre-programmed path.

 

3.  So, I don’t need as many manual shovelers? Is it faster than shoveling?

Adding a SnowBot to your team means you need fewer workers for the repetitive, physically-taxing job of shoveling. One SnowBot can clear as much sidewalk as eight shovelers can in an hour. And it does it with even cleaner results, as its rotating brush cleans better than a shovel. SnowBot is pretty agile and clears a sidewalk in one pass, but steps or tighter walkways aren’t accessible by SnowBot and will require manual shoveling.

 

4.  How much does it cost?

For a limited time, a SnowBot Pro robot with a 46” broom, a base station and a path collection tool costs $32,995. Generally, only one path collection tool is needed per customer. Additional SnowBot Pro’s with a 46” broom and base station cost $31,995. There is a discount for purchases of 2 or more SnowBot Pros.

An annual subscription is required for each robot of approximately $3,595 to $5,995/year depending on the level of cloud storage and operations support required.

 

5.  What about maintenance & upkeep?

The SnowBot requires the same kind of maintenance as other gasoline powered equipment snow management operators typically use. Oil and filter changes, as well as hydraulic oil and filter changes, are necessary. Other basic maintenance includes periodic lubrication of a handful of grease fittings at mechanical joints (typically hydraulic cylinders) and checking the tension on the broom chain and pump belt. Depending on use, the bristle pack on the broom can be rotated periodically to extend the broom life but is not required.

There is a computer on board the SnowBot, and software updates are made automatically when it connects to the Internet. These updates are made by our team periodically — there is nothing for our customer to manage.

 

6.  Right now, I have to worry about a lot of risks — like workers getting injured and pedestrian Slip & Fall incidents. What are the safety and liability issues with a SnowBot?

We designed the SnowBot Pro to minimize fatiguing and dangerous manual snow clearing. By reducing the number of shovelers needed for a job, the risk of worker injury and labor costs are dramatically reduced.

Slip & Fall incidents are a big deal for both you and your customers. The SnowBot can clear big sidewalk jobs in a fraction of the time, reducing the chance pedestrians will walk on uncleared sidewalks. In addition, rotating brooms are recognized as the best way to clear sidewalks and pathways to achieve a clean surface. Our auto-generated job reports provide timestamped documentation with photos as proof walks were cleared.

If you want to learn more about how our SnowBot Pro may fit your business, please get in touch. You can also learn about SnowBot Pro Priority Reservations — we’re taking reservations now for the 2018-19 snow season.

-Terry

About Terry Olkin

Terry is the co-founder and CEO of Left Hand Robotics. His 30-year career spans senior leadership roles at Oracle, the founding of multiple startups, and he is an inventor on over 21 patents. Prior to Left Hand Robotics, Terry was a Fellow at the public company Workday, which in 2015 acquired GridCraft, a Boulder-based software startup he co-founded. He mentors youth robotics teams competing in national competitions around the country and is the president of the nonprofit GEAR Alliance.

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