Meet dolaGon, an autonomous vehicle designed to aid skiers

DolaGon is a modified Polaris Ranger Crew UTV with Camso 4S1 tracks created to transport skiers autonomously on “backcountry” slopes. What makes this vehicle unique is its versatile ability to be controlled. Users and operators can use the autonomous feature, or the wireless remote control, or hop in the driver’s seat and operate dolaGon manually like a traditional UTV.

Currently, dolaGon is equipped with an XP 1000 engine, but when Autoblog asked about future electric plans, company co-founder Logan Banning wrote, “We plan to transition to electric motors as they continue to progress with higher power and longer range. Electric engines are relatively new to the UTV world, but they should progress quickly in the next few years.” 

What allows dolaGon’s autonomy is the “train-and-repeat technology,” which works by first driving the vehicle manually, setting up a “bread-crumb trail” that is acceptable for the vehicle’s route and making sure to avoid objects like large rocks and trees. Once that information is gathered and logged into the system, dolaGon can begin its autonomous trek to reach skiers and bring them back to the starting zone. Aside from train-and-repeat technology, dolaGon is also equipped with GPS localization and tracking, and LiDAR hazard recognition. It has an autonomous top speed of 15 mph, but can operate at higher speeds when driven manually. 

The company is currently focused on recreational skiing and snowboarding but has plans to one day offer mountain bikers and their bikes a shuttle service up mountains as well. According to Banning, “We plan to have dolaGons capable for use in any industries that current UTVs are already used in today — outdoor recreation, agriculture, hunting & fishing, search & rescue, oil & gas, etc.” 

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