Winnipeg Richardson International Airport Unveils North America’s First Autonomous Airport Snowplow

Provided by Winnipeg Airport Authority Inc/CNW

WINNIPEG, March 14, 2019 /CNW/ – Today, Winnipeg Richardson International Airport introduced ‘Otto’, the first autonomous airport snowplow in North America. The plow is the result of a partnership with Manitoba companies Northstar Robotics Inc. and Airport Technologies Inc. (ATI).

‘Otto’ is a specially designed ATI Snow Mauler configured to operate autonomously using Northstar Robotics technology. The plow performs snow clearing tasks by following predetermined routes and controlling the plow blade at specific locations.

A shot of North America's first autonomous airport snowplow, Otto. (CNW Group/Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.)
A shot of North America’s first autonomous airport snowplow, Otto. (CNW Group/Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.)
A shot of North America's first autonomous runway snowplow, Otto at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (CNW Group/Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.)
A shot of North America’s first autonomous runway snowplow, Otto at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (CNW Group/Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.)
Otto, North America's first autonomous airport snowplow, at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport. (CNW Group/Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.)
Otto, North America’s first autonomous airport snowplow, at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport. (CNW Group/Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.)
Shawn Schaerer, President and Founder of Northstar Robotics, a company partner in this venture. (CNW Group/Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.)
Shawn Schaerer, President and Founder of Northstar Robotics, a company partner in this venture. (CNW Group/Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.)
Vince Dancho, WAA's Senior Vice President introducing Otto, North America's first autonomous airport snowplow. (CNW Group/Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.)
Vince Dancho, WAA’s Senior Vice President introducing Otto, North America’s first autonomous airport snowplow. (CNW Group/Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.)
Airport Technologies Inc.'s President, Brendon Smith. (CNW Group/Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.)
Airport Technologies Inc.’s President, Brendon Smith. (CNW Group/Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.)

Today marks a significant milestone for the project, as the vehicle can now operate autonomously in less complex areas of the airport. Research and development continue, with the next step being the operation of the plow in additional areas of the airport.

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

“Launching North America’s first autonomous snowplow 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.”

“Autonomous technology is changing how we work,” added Shawn Schaerer, President and Founder of Northstar Robotics. “It is exciting to partner with companies that are ready to adapt and pioneer this cutting-edge technology.”

“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.”