The expanding world of autonomous vehicles continues to progress throughout North America, especially in Canada. Just last month, it was announced that driverless cars were officially allowed on roads throughout Ontario. Now, the newest addition to this family if being put to good use as the first ever driverless snowplow in North America is being used in an airport in Manitoba.
The snowplows name is "OTTO" and it's the first snowplow of its kind that can be completely operated without a driver. Instead, the snowplow is able to use a GPS to guide it up the paths that are supposed to be cleared of snow, allowing for the job to be done without anyone behind the wheel.
However, OTTO still has an option for a driver if needed. The plow is able to go from driver to driverless within seconds and can be used as both an autonomous vehicle and a manual vehicle.
OTTO was showcased to the nation on Thursday where it announced it's home at Winnipeg Richardson Internation Airport.
#ICYMI: WAA partnered with @NorthStarRobot and Airport Technologies Inc. to unveil North America’s first autonomous runway snowplow, Otto. Get the full story here: https://t.co/8oKOWYZkDS pic.twitter.com/k8iHm1rUuo— Winnipeg Airport (@YWGairport) March 15, 2019
OTTO, the autonomous snowplow's main job right now is to make snow clearing on airport runways more efficient. Over the next few years, OTTO will be used to clear snow throughout the entire airport.
This snowplow will use GPS guidance and a little help from a remote control operator, to navigate through the runways and ensure that roads and runways are clear throughout the winter season.
OTTO will come in handy when there is low and sometimes even no visibility on the runways. During these awful snowstorms, OTTO will be able to navigate through the roads without the need to see through its front windshield.
OTTO was developed by Northstar Robotics Inc. and Airport Technologies Inc. Northstar Robotics told CTV News that OTTO was just the beginning of driverless snowplows. In the future, Northstar Robotics is hoping they will be able to place driverless snowplows in every airport throughout parts of the world that get snowfall.
Until then, you may be able to spot OTTO the next time you're travelling through the Winnipeg Airport.
Source: CTV News