Yuki-taro chrews through snow, chunks out ice cubes

The Japanese are well known for crafting useful robots to do the dirty work for humans who'd rather park it at home, and the Yuki-taro autonomous snowplow is just another example of machines taking care of the business people can't (or won't). In a collaborative effort between five Niigata-based organizations, the snowbot was created to go off by itself and chew through massive sections of snow to make areas passable once more. The nearly 900-pound machine rocks a yellow and black shell, scoots about on tracks, and features a wide mouth to gobble up the fallen snow, compress it into small blocks, and then expel them from the device's rear. Internally, it boasts a GPS module and a pair of video cameras integrated into the eyes, and while we're not certain what type of energy this thing utilizes, its inventors did manage to receive a design award for its snow-crunching abilities. So if you're tired of shoveling for hours on end in a seemingly futile attempt to uncover your driveway, keep an eye out for a commercial version of the Yuki-taro, as plans are to bring it to market for around $8,300 within five years.

[Via Pink Tentacle]