Snow on the runway can cause chaos and long, expensive, flight delays. But that could be a thing of the past after autonomous snowplows were tested for the first time.
Yeti Snow Technology recently tested their autonomous snowplows at an airport in Norway. The machines are 20 meters long, 5.5 meters wide and can clear a 350,000-square-meter area of snow in an hour. The plows can also work in tandem for optimal efficiency.
Unlike unmanned vehicles on the road, driverless snow plows at an airport don’t have to rely as much on cameras and sensors for safe movement. The vehicles’ routes to and from the storage facility can be pre-programmed. The system can download these patterns and monitor a number of vehicles that navigate using RTK GPS and communicate using 4G modems. The machines can also be monitored by a human supervisor as an additional safety measure.
If the tests are successful, the autonomous snowplows could be deployed at nearly 50 airports throughout Norway and maybe beyond.