Autonomous Robot Eats Snow, Turns It into Ice Blocks

Autonomous Robot Gobbles Snow, Turns It into Ice Blocks [Video] 1 photo
Photo: A870129's Youtube Account
Autonomous vehicles are something that we need to get used to, as the future will most likely be about cars that drive themselves. It’s safe, easier and could get us rid of traffic jams. But until that is going to happen, several robot manufacturers are working on different uses of the technology. And it’s the case of this yellow fellow who will get rid of the snow in your driveway in no time.
Yes, it’s Japanese.

Dubbed Yuki Taro, which simply translates with Snow Taro, it’s an autonomous machine that gobbles the snow and turns it into ice blocks. The robot is completely self-automated as it uses a GPS system to move around the streets and around obstacles like parked cars. It was also created to differentiate snow to anything else and it’s able to recognize humans in its path and re-navigate accordingly.

Featured with stereo vision and infrared sensor, Yuki Taro was designed and built by the Hokkaido Regional Development Bureau in cooperation with New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization and the Engineering Department at Yamagata University. It was meant to serve as an example of great collaboration between industry, university and government.

The snow removal machine made its debut at the 2005 Aichi Expo in Nagoya, Japan, but reports are it still hasn’t entered production.

The details of the machine

As to how it functions, a continuous compression screw behind the front shovel takes in snow, compresses it and ejects rectangular solid frozen bricks from the rear. Each bricks measures 500 x 300 x 120mm (20 x 12 x 4.8 inch) and weighs around 13 kg (28.5 lbs). The robot can hold a stack of bricks weighing up to 100 kg (220 lbs) in its trunk, so it won’t just leave a mess behind its path.

Powered by an on-board DC48V battery, the 400 kg (880 lbs) machine is capable to move with speeds of up to 5 meters (16.4 ft) per minute. Even though its retail price of about $9,000 (EUR7,270 at the current exchange rates) is not that big, for some reason Yuki Taro is yet to hit the market.

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