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MIT Engineer Creates Remotely Operated Snowblower

CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – A Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineer isn't a fan of New England winters. So he came up with an innovative snowblower that was turning heads following the latest snowfall.

A Twitter user shared video from Danehy Park on Bay State Road in Cambridge. A snowblower was clearing a path in the park, but no one was at the helm.

An autonomous snow blower in Cambridge. (Image Credit: Alezsu Bajak)

WBZ-TV tracked down the machine's owner. Dane Kouttron said his remotely operated snowblower is a "labor of love" that took him about three months to build starting last winter.

"I don't terribly enjoy being out in the cold, so this is a remotely operated snowblower," he said. "It features a vision system, obstacle avoidance, and it is purely electrical. There is no engine on board. So this can operate for up to four hours by itself outdoors. Not only can it take in a bunch of GPS positions and take care of cleaning a parking lot by itself."

XX shows off an autonomous snow blower in Cambridge. (WBZ-TV)

The snowblower has light up eyeballs attached to it. "The googly eyes are just for show," he joked.

Kouttron was previously on the television show "BattleBots." He had leftover pieces from his time on the show, and used them to build the machine he calls "part wheelchair, part combat robotics turned good."

He's using a remote control during his tests, but the snowblower can also be programmed to work independently. "It can take in a bunch of GPS positions and take care of cleaning a parking lot by itself," he says.

Or your sidewalk or driveway. "Ideally, sit out with your cup of tea and remotely pilot your snow moving machine from the comfort of your own home," he said.

An MIT engineer's self driving snow blower. (WBZ-TV)

The MIT engineer said he doesn't currently have any plans to pitch the snowblower commercially.

"There's still some prototyping left to do. But it would be an interesting commercial venture," he said.

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