This Robot Groundskeeper Is Equal Parts Lawnmower and Snow Blower

The RT-1000 from Left Hand Robotics can mow large fields and plow snow. (Photo Credit: Left Hand Robotics)

There are a number of companies that make lawn mowing robots. Most of them are like big grass-cutting Roombas. This awkward looking brute is very different.

Meet the RT-1000. It’s different not just because it’s designed to cut grass by the acre. The RT-1000 is also a multi-talented robot that handles groundskeeping chores all-year round. Once the air turns cool and the snow starts falling, the RT-1000 can shed its mowing deck and turn into a snow blower.

The RT-1000 was developed by Left Hand Robotics, who built it to tackle very large jobs. Instead of batteries this bot is powered by a gas engine. One tank (12 gallons) allows the RT-1000 to mow for a full 10 hours.

With its 65″ mowing deck attached the RT-1000 can cut about 2 acres of grass per hour. Swap it out for the 56″ broom and the bot can clear 2 miles of snow-covered sidewalk in the same amount of time. The RT-1000 can even spread ice melter as it goes.

The brains behind the RT-1000 is an Nvidia Jetson TX2. It’s connected to half a dozen cameras, lidar, gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer and collision sensors. Redundant RTK (Real-Time Kinetic) GPS with centimeter accuracy helps the RT-1000 precisely follow its assigned routes.

An onboard LTE modem lets the RT-1000 communicate with a remote control center. Operators can tell the robot to get to work and monitor its progress using a smartphone app. Owners can view detailed reports about the day’s work and view photos to confirm that jobs were successfully completed.

Left Hand Robotics says the RT-1000 can reduce labor costs by 60 percent over three years. It also allows workers to devote their time and effort to jobs that require a human touch — and can even help reduce on-the-job injuries. Speaking from experience, snow removal can do a real number on your back.

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