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An article in the Omaha World-Herald yesterday cued me in to how snow’s plowed in Northern towns with cash.  According to the Herald:

Joysticks.  Satellite communications.  And plenty of horsepower.  Welcome to snowplows in the new millennium.


Gone are the days of CB radios and dashboard levers. The high-tech versions have onboard computers, 6-inch satellite dishes, ultrabright strobe lights, video cameras and tanks with three different de-icing liquids, one for nearly every temperature. 

Pistol-grip joysticks control the plows’ blades. Global positioning systems and computer downlinks allow dispatchers to track each truck’s location down to the inch, including how many plows are in contact with the road and how much salt each driver has dumped. Instead of passenger doors, there are clear plastic shields so drivers can see plows on the side and passing traffic. 

These are some seriously tricked-out snowplows.  The article says these trucks cost around $110,000 each, but they hope they’ll save lives and money by preventing accidents and melting snow more quickly.  They say the next stage’ll involve heads-up displays that’ll show the road graphically so they can “drive blind in blizzards.”

Holy crap.

High-Tech Plows Are Breaking Into Snow Business [Omaha World-Werald]


2 Responses to High-Tech Snowplows: Pushin’ Snow the 21st Century Way

  1. Gene says:

    Hmmm, while I can see how GPS technology could easily allow the snow plow operator “drive blind in blizzards”, I don’t see how they can account for the unexpected, like a stalled vehicle in the lane that the plow is currently clearing.

  2. Jim D says:

    I had to laugh at the image this story brought up. Here in Banff, Alberta, we get regular dumps of anywhere from 6 inches to three feet in a night. The ploa/sander driver has, if he’s lucky, a six inch space in the windshield to see out of due to snow blowing over the blade. A lot of the time he is looking ahead out the side window.
    I have to say, though, that the new control panels make the job a lot easier but in operation makes the driver look like a deranged octopus.
    Thsanks for the aGREAT blog.

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