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]