5 Questions with Terry Olkin of Longmont’s Left Hand Robotics

Longmont’s Left Hand Robotics has developed a first-of-its-kind commercial robot designed to clear snow from surfaces such as sidewalks. The startup company, founded in 2016 by Terry Olkin and Mike Ott, is allowing snow removal companies to try its product, the SnowBot Pro.

Left Hand Robotics cofounder Terry Olkin with “Snowbot” in Longmont, Colorado on March 13, 2018. (Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer)

Left Hand’s executives say demand for the robot has been strong and production is expected to ramp up in advance of next winter. We chatted with Olkin, a software engineer by trade and the firm’s CEO, to learn more about the robot and the business.

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

1. What’s your background and how did you get into robotics?

Read full Boulder Daily Camera Story >

Left Hand Robotics scaling up SnowBots

LONGMONT — Left Hand Robotics Inc., a manufacturer of snow-plowing robots, is ramping up production of its SnowBots through a 10-client pilot program.

Left Hand Robotics started its pilot by putting out a request for interested customers — typically contractors who clear snow for large campuses or municipalities or commercial buildings that do it themselves — to apply for one of their SnowBots. CEO Terry Olkin told BizWest they ultimately got 40 applications for 10 slots they could fill.

“We were way oversubscribed,” Olkin said. “We saw there was a lot of interest.”

Pilot customers are spread between the West and East Coasts in the United States and Canada, in order to test the SnowBots in locations that will be experiencing snow at different times. Robots were delivered throughout January, and personnel were trained how to use them.

Read full BizWest story >

Press Release – World’s first self-driving, commercial-class snow clearing robot now operating at pilot customer locations across North America


World’s First Self-Driving, Commercial-Class Snow Clearing Robot From Left Hand Robotics Now Operating at Pilot Customer Locations Across North America

Company to ramp SnowBot Pro production in 2018 to meet initial demand

March 1, 2018 (Longmont, CO) – Left Hand Robotics has developed the first self-driving robot to clear snow from sidewalks, dramatically reducing labor expense for snow management operators while producing better overall results. Tedious, repetitive, physically taxing snow shoveling is the ideal task for a robot.

SnowBot Pro pilot customers across North America are responsible for snow management at hospitals, airports, business and academic campuses, retail shopping centers, and local municipalities. A job that typically takes eight snow shovelers an hour to clear is completed in the same amount of time with one SnowBot Pro. Customers see the SnowBot Pro as a way to significantly reduce their labor costs, clear snow faster, and improve safety — as one in four slip-and-fall accidents is attributed to snow and ice.

State-of-the-art technologies enable the GPS-navigated robot to operate autonomously to clear snowy sidewalks with down-to-the-inch accuracy. It has five types of sensors, including LIDAR and thermal sensors for safety. Customers monitor the robot’s progress in real-time from the web or mobile phone apps. Read more

Check out Left Hand Robotics in the news!

For most people, the end of the year is relatively calm as you take time off to spend with family. Businesses tend to go quiet and not much happens in the news. But none of that was true at Left Hand Robotics. We were hard at work putting the final touches on our robots as we get them ready to go out to our pilot customers. Once they hit the road, we will be sure to take you along for the ride.

On the news front, we were featured in two separate video news stories linked below. The first was shot in November by the Denver Business Journal, but was just released on January 2.  This is a very nice almost 3 minute story about LHR and the SnowBot Pro. The second was recorded by a local TV station, 9News (NBC), on the same day as our (Boulder’s) first big storm of the year. This story was broadcast on December 27. We are, of course, grateful for the (free!) positive coverage of our company and our robots. These stories have generated a lot of additional interest in the company that we are always excited to get.

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