In the world of lawn care, one robot in Dallas rises to the level of celebrity. That's the Spider ILD02. On Thursday it drew a small crowd of gawkers, mostly parks department employees, while cutting the grass near Reverchon Park. The North Texas Tollway Authority uses the remote controlled robot to trim steep roadside inclines. "It's the only one in our fleet," says NTTA spokesman Michael Rey. "It does tend to attract attention."
More than three years ago, the NTTTA paid up to $50,000 for the slope mower. A controller stands at a distance with a remote control, guiding the robot up any inclines steeper than 28 degrees. The manufacturer says the system can handle up to 40 degree inclines or 55 degree if the operators use a hydraulic winch for stability. "It's for a unique job, done without risking safety," Rey says.
Safety is enhanced, but manpower costs are lower as well. The Czech company that makes the slope mowers, Dvorak, says the robot could "replace as many as 15 workers with brush cutters or one boom mower carried by a tractor."
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