LONGMONT — Left Hand Robotics Inc. has raised $3.7 million that the company says will enable it to initiate production of its SnowBot Pro commercial self-driving snow-clearing robot.
The seed-financing round was led by venture-capital firm Heroic Ventures, with other participants including Hardware Club, PV Ventures and Stout Street Capital.
“We invest in visionary companies with the potential to impact huge industries,” Matt Robinson, founder and managing partner of Heroic Ventures, said in a prepared statement. “Left Hand Robotics is bringing the first autonomous robot to the commercial snow management market. In just two years they have designed and launched software and robots that virtually eliminate snow shoveling. The team is incredible and focused on delivering the world's most advanced robotics technologies and software management systems."
Left Hand says that a single SnowBot Pro can complete the work of 14 shovelers in the same amount of time. Commercial snow-management companies and municipalities can reduce their labor costs by up to 80 percent, the company says.
The investment will enable Left Hand to expand its team and scale production, with delivery of SnowBot Pro to begin by late 2018. The robot costs $32,995, plus an annual software subscription.
“SnowBot Pro is changing how snow management operators plan for snowstorms,” said Terry Olkin, CEO and co-founder of Left Hand Robotics. “It can start as soon as the snow falls and run without supervision throughout the storm so sidewalks are always clear; this is critical for hospitals, airports, business and academic campuses, retail shopping centers, and municipalities. Late nights and long hours spent shoveling increase the chance of injury, and labor has always been a highly unpredictable cost for this industry. SnowBot Pro is a fixed cost that can pay for itself in the first year.”
SnowBot Pro is GPS-conrolled and connected to the cloud and follows a pre-programmed path unassisted to clear sidewalks and bike paths. The system includes LIDAR and RADAR sensors that detect obstacles and allow SnowBot to drive itself safely. Onboard cameras automatically take before and after pictures included in post-action job reports, and monitoring systems allow an operator to monitor the SnowBot in real-time from the Web or a mobile device. SnowBot can pre-treat walks ahead of a storm and apply solid or liquid deicer immediately after clearing snow.