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A CUT ABOVE THE REST -- DRBA Maintenance Department Acquires Remote Controlled Spider Mower
By JSalmon on 08/22/2017:  

 A CUT ABOVE THE REST
DRBA Maintenance Department Acquires Remote Controlled Spider Mower

(New Castle, DE) Following its recent successful tests of unmanned aerial and submersible vehicles, the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) has now expanded its use of autonomous vehicles with the acquisition of a remote controlled lawn mower. The mower is designed to maintain grass on steep inclines safer and more efficiently compared to the traditional slope mowers. With its enhanced capabilities, the remote controlled Spider ILD02 is a specialized piece of equipment designed to tackle various terrains and inclines that are difficult for traditional mowers to handle. The new Spider, capable of mowing fine turf as well as heavy brush on flat areas, was purchased for $46,000.

According to Douglas Clark, Landscape Supervisor at the DRBA, the main reason for purchasing the new equipment is employee safety. “We maintain a number of slopes and inclines near the overpasses that span Interstate 295,” Clark said. “With the purchase of the Spider ILD02, our maintenance personnel no longer have to manually operate a slope mower on those inclines, sharply reducing the chance of an accident or injury occurring.”

The Spider ILD02 mower is remote controlled, autonomous vehicle that allows the operator to be positioned at a safe distance away while the machine is working on an inclined area. Due to its light weight structure, low center of gravity, and distinct drive system, the Spider mower is able to mow extremely steep slopes with an incline up to 40 degrees. Add the integrated hydraulic winch, this already impressive climbing ability can reach up to 55 degrees of an incline all while maintaining the safety of the operator.

Clark added that, “While this Spider mower may be smaller than our current slope mowers, it is capable of mowing roughly the same daily amount on our steep slopes as the current mowers with less environmental impact.” With its unique wheel drive, the Spider mower is not only gentle to grass, but eliminates erosion on slopes and soil compaction. This innovative Spider mower also has low fuel consumption which greatly lowers its emissions.

With the purchase of the new Spider autonomous mower, the DRBA Maintenance Operations Department is embracing new technology that will not only help maintain hard to reach areas of the Authority, but will benefit the well-being of DRBA employees and the environment.

Embracing new technology is not new for the DRBA. During the past two years, the Authority has participated in a drone test inspection of the Delaware Memorial Bridge and the first air/water drone inspection demonstration of high value infrastructure assets. In addition, the Authority hosted a drone “Do Tank’ at the Cape May ferry terminal that demonstrated the effectiveness of drone technology in disaster relief efforts and also provided a platform for Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to test new communication technology at the Ferry.

About the Delaware River and Bay Authority
The DRBA, a bi-state governmental agency created by Compact in 1962, owns and operates the Delaware Memorial Bridge, the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, and the Forts Ferry Crossing. The DRBA also manages corporate and aviation properties through its economic development powers-two airports in New Jersey (Millville Airport and Cape May Airpark) and three in Delaware (New Castle Airport, Civil Air Terminal and Delaware Airpark). All DRBA operating revenues are generated through the bridge, ferry and airport facilities. For more information, please visit www.drba.net

PDF of Press Release

Photo caption: DRBA maintenance employee Robert Owens remotely operates the Spider ILD02 lawn mower on a steep slope near U.S. Route 9 in New Castle, Delaware.