February 18, 2014
Clear Snowy Driveways From Indoors With A Snowplow Droid
“I’m dreaming of a White Christmas, to get the goddamn snowing all done and dusted before I have to go back to work and shovel the goddamn wretched stuff from my goddamn driveway,” Bing Crosby should have sang. It wouldn’t have been as romantic or Christmassy, or have become the bestselling single of all time (did you know that? 50 million copies worldwide), but it would have been more reflective of how we feel in February.
Now, though, technology may help to make our lives a little more comfortable in yet another welcome way. A snowplow droid has been designed which can clear your driveway alone while you control it from inside your house. Gizmodo also felt the need to point out that the remote control is wireless, in case anyone thought it was like one of those RCs attached to VCR players in the early 80’s. In case you were concerned, it is not.
That (otherwise fantastic) site also says, as does a lot of other media and the marketing from the designers themselves, Superdroid Robots, that the droid can be controlled from the warmth and comfort of our living rooms. This is true, so long as our living rooms give us clear views of the entire driveway or area that we want to clear, otherwise we are going to be operating blind, which is going to make the job impossible, let alone terrorizing passing motorists and cats.
Ideally, the product would come with a camera which can be hooked up to a PlayStation. There is potential for development though; Superdroid Robots say that customized versions can be requested and can include cameras and even WiFi capability to be controlled over the internet.
This is possible because they are not mass producing the thing, but it is the exclusivity of the product that creates the consequent price tag of almost $8000. The Superdroid Robots site says that the snowplow is sold for this year, and that those interested should get their orders in for next year. There is speculation that the idea is such a good one that it will be taken up and rolled out to become a mass produced thing. I can certainly see the potential for that. It is a good idea and, of course, if that happened the price tag should come down.
The technology involved is quite complex though, so the price would never be super low. There is a good motor inside the thing, and the accuracy looks pretty good, including of the little plow blade itself which moves up and down depending on whether shoveling or driving. One day this might become a standard piece of kit in any garage, but for now it is certainly going to impress the neighbors. Hiring it out to them, in fact, may be one way to reduce the net expenditure on this agreeable machine.
Image Credit: Thinkstock