Snow Plowing (Darth Vader) Sumo Bot

Finally, winter with lots of snow arrived in Switzerland. Getting up at 5am this morning to free up my front yard from the 25 cm snow which came down overnight, so I can drive my wife to work. She does not like driving in snow conditions, but it is fun for me :-). But lots of snow, I thought I could use a little helper bot:

Snow Plowing Sumo Bot

Snow Plowing Sumo Bot

Seriously, that bot was not able to play with the height of snow around the house. So I tried it in an area with only few centimeters. Originally I thought I could use the line/infrared sensor to follow lines on the ground, but the sensor was so covered with snow, so this was useless. I ended up removing that sensor. But still had lasers and ultrasonic :-).

Bot Burried in Snow

Bot Buried in Snow

The ultrasonic sensor is useful to detect obstacles. But the snow does not reflect much of the ultrasonic sound, so detection of snow walls was not really good. And no surprise: tracks and the chassis get full of snow very fast, building blocks of ice. Needed to clean the bot after about 5 minutes, fearing that melting water could damage the electronics. The other issues are ice on the ground (no grip any more) and uneven surface (the plow shield get stuck). The bot is not heavy enough to plow much snow, but still: things are kind of working…

Summary

Not the most efficient way of plowing, and limited by the size of the bot. But lots of fun.

PS: http://funsnowplowing.com/ features a Snow Bot of different size 🙂

Happy Plowing 🙂

 

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