Winnipeg Richardson airport unveils autonomous snowplough

Winnipeg Richardson International Airport has introduced an autonomous airport snowplough, which it says is the first in North America.

The result of a partnership with Manitoba companies Northstar Robotics and Airport Technologies (ATI) the plough, named Otto, is a specially designed ATI Snow Mauler configured to operate autonomously using Northstar Robotics technology.

Otto performs snow clearing tasks by following predetermined routes and controlling the plough blade at specific locations.

Winnipeg Richardson Airport first autonomous snowplough

“Launching North America’s first autonomous snowplough is a great achievement for Winnipeg Richardson International Airport,” said Barry Rempel, president and CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority. “Our success is a direct result of bringing together partners who are committed to lead transportation innovation and growth.”

The introduction also marks a milestone for the project as the vehicle can now operate autonomously in less complex areas of the airport. With continuing research and development, the next step would be the operation of the plough in additional areas of the airport.

Otto is equipped with 3D LIDAR and RADAR that can sense its surroundings and detect obstacles and is also equipped with a fault tolerant wireless emergency stop system.

“ATI is proud to be part of the team breaking new ground in snow clearing technology,” said ATI’s president, Brendon Smith. “We are excited to continue to find new ways to incorporate autonomous technology into our equipment.”

“Autonomous technology is changing how we work,” commented Shawn Schaerer, president and founder of Northstar Robotics, adding that he was excited to partner with companies “ready to adapt and pioneer this cutting-edge technology.”

Image: A shot of North America’s first autonomous airport snowplow, Otto. (CNW Group/Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.)

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