New Funding Announced to Expand Distribution and Team

 

The First Self-Driving Outdoor Robot Transforms from Commercial Field Mower to Snow Clearing Robot – Left Hand Robotics Receives $3.6M in New Funding

August 28, 2019 (Longmont, CO) Left Hand Robotics has announced it has raised $3.6M led by Catapult Ventures to build out its team and expand distribution of the world’s first state-of-the-art, fully autonomous outdoor robot designed as a scalable platform that allows customers to complete multiple tedious outdoor tasks. The robot transforms from a large-scale field mowing robot to a snow clearing robot by simply switching out attachments.

Left Hand Robotics has been shipping their commercial robot for several months now, allowing customers to autonomously mow baseball fields and open spaces in cities like Longmont, CO and on university campuses. “Michigan State University has had a mowing robot on campus this summer. We place it at its starting point and select that location’s path program from the smartphone app, and then it takes off on its own. In the future, we can imagine multiple robots serving double duty for us by both mowing and clearing snow,” says Jeremiah Saier, GIS Analyst at MSU.

“We looked at labor-intensive industries to see where robots could dramatically reduce the workload and where labor was scarce,” says Left Hand Robotics CEO and Co-founder Terry Olkin. “The landscaping industry is second only to construction in terms of the high demand for workers that’s unmet. Now workers can focus on complex tasks and offload the most repetitive, labor-intensive tasks to a robot. One of the most physically taxing chores is snow shoveling – a robot can clear snow much faster with no risk of worker injury.”

As a smart mowing robot, it excels at large scale mowing at sports complexes, parks, campuses and open spaces. Today a sod farm customer has a robot mowing hundreds of acres a week completely unattended. As a snow clearing ‘Snowbot’, it clears a sidewalk in a single pass. The robot does the work of industrial mowers and snow blowers, yet it’s agile and compact – about the size of an ATV. It operates autonomously using GPS RTK technology to follow a pre-programmed path with accuracy down to the inch. The robot is always connected to the cloud and is controlled by a smartphone app that provides real-time monitoring. Sophisticated safety features leverage RADAR and LIDAR technology to detect people and obstacles, and six onboard cameras provide a real-time view and capture photos of work completed.

In 2019, the Mountain View-based firm Catapult Ventures announced a $55M fund with a focus on robotics and AI technologies, and Catapult has already invested in self-driving trucks, autonomous drones, fruit picking robots, and now Left Hand Robotics’ multi-purpose outdoor robot. “We like to identify the biggest market opportunities and then figure out how to fill those gaps with a focused technology solution,” says Rouz Jazayeri, Co-Founder and Managing Director at Catapult Ventures. “Left Hand Robotics is spot on with their focus – they’re taking the lead to bring robotic automation to the commercial landscaping industry where it’s needed most. The robotic solution they’ve built is both elegant and practical, and we love the fact that they are already shipping commercial products.”

A Left Hand Robotics robot costs $55,000 to get started, with an annual subscription of $4,250 a year that includes automatic software updates, as the team constantly enhances systems. “By doing the work of one riding mower and operator, the breakeven point for a robot is often less than one year,” says Olkin. “We have dealer relationships with MTE Turf Equipment Solutions and Lawn and Golf Supply Co., who are bringing our robot to the commercial outdoor equipment market. They already have customers clamoring for them.” 

While small, lightweight consumer mowing robots for the yard have been around a few years, existing industrial lawn mowing companies have yet to venture into the industrial-class, fully-automated mowing market, and no one has a snow clearing robot of this caliber. “We’re the first to build an autonomous, multi-tasking outdoor robot to automate large scale mowing and snow clearing because it requires robust equipment and fine-tuned technologies that work together reliably without fail, and this is difficult to do,” says Olkin. See a Left Hand Robotics robot in action at www.lefthandrobotics.com.

 

About Left Hand Robotics

Left Hand Robotics is revolutionizing the commercial outdoor power equipment industry with the world’s first commercial, self-driving smart robot that transforms between an autonomous field mowing robot and a powerful snow clearing robot. The robot is designed for anyone who manages commercial or public turf maintenance or snow clearing to offload the most tedious and labor-intensive tasks so workers can focus on complex tasks. 

Left Hand Robotics’ customers have robots mowing parks, sports complexes and campuses today. The robot can be monitored real-time from a smartphone while RADAR and LIDAR sensors can detect an unexpected person or obstacle for safe operation. Longmont, Colorado based Left Hand Robotics is focused on leveraging its state-of-the-art scalable robot platform to deliver huge cost and time savings benefits to customers. Learn more at www.lefthandrobotics.com.

Colorado City Puts SnowBot to Work in 2019 Storms

All I can say is it doesn’t get any better than this for a startup company. The city of Longmont Colorado saw the potential of our snow-clearing robot and were anxious to start testing it in the field. Lucky for SnowBot, we have had a snowy 2019 so far, so the folks in the Longmont parks department got their chance to put SnowBot to work.

Well, I guess our robot did its job on Longmont’s sidewalks. I know this because I happened to find out that the Parks Superintendent had shot a video their SnowBot working on a snowy workday – and in the video he shared his firsthand experience of how SnowBot has become part of the snow clearing team.

We think they did a great job on the video so we asked to share it on our website, and Timber said no problem. You can click the video above to watch. Thank you to the City of Longmont for embracing SnowBot and we can’t wait to hear what you think of our mower deck attachment that will enable your SnowBot to transform to a mowing machine come summer!

-Terry

Here is a transcription of the video, too:

Timber Toste, Parks Superintendent, City of Longmont Colorado

“We’ve been looking at robotic operations for a couple years now. The way the robot works is we actually map the route, and then it follow based on GPS coordinates with centimeter accuracy of where the path is. So it was a big game changer for us in terms of using robotics.

Currently the SnowBot has a broom on it –- which can handle up to about 3 inches of snow.Public safety is the biggest concern we have; the machine is only going a couple miles per hour, and it’s got infrared red LIDAR cameras, push bars that will shut it off, plus emergency disconnects.

This last snowstorm that we had we put it on the St. Vrain Greenways between Sunset and Hover and it interacted with people; actually people interacted with it and just like any other piece of equipment they went around it.

The SnowBot will have a mow deck this summer. We spend about $850 per acre annual to maintain turf in the city. The robot does it between $3-$5 dollars annually; it could have a major impact on the amount of dollars we’re spending to do maintenance.”