Robots won’t replace Groundsmen

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Doomsday predictions about the impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI) workforce often predict huge job losses in the future as automation takes over many roles currently performed by humans.

But shockingly they never mention the impact on the humble soccer groundsman.

After all, the huge amount of money available at the elite level of sport mean that few organisations will ever see a desire to cut costs in pitch preparation. And at an amateur level, the impact of automation will have to wait until the costs of such technology become affordable.

Football robotics
The Pitch-R is “inspired” by the auto maker’s ProPILOT driver assistance system used by the Nissan Leaf and Nissan Qashqai to draw soccer pitches wherever there is available space. It may be a spurious use case for a technology that aims to change how cars are driven, but it does show how adaptable it can be.

 The robot has a four-camera vision system, GPS location tracking and collision avoidance systems and can draw white lines on various surfaces with environmentally-friendly dissolvable paint. Its eco-friendly credentials are boosted by a fully rechargeable battery pack.

To draw the pitch, the robot independently scans the surrounding areas to find a space for a pitch. It works on uneven surfaces and can draw lines on grass, tarmac or even gravel. Several options are available, including standard sizes for 5-a-side, 7-a-side and 11-a-side matches.

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