Rover is an autonomous robotic that’s not solely able to following golfers across the course but in addition carrying their golf equipment. Picture by Will Crooks/Upstate Enterprise Journal.

Legendary golf author and broadcaster Henry Longhurst as soon as stated: “An excellent caddie is greater than a mere assistant. He’s a information, thinker, and buddy.” However in case you ask Greenville’s Tim Doane and Ted Nicola, an excellent caddie doesn’t essentially must be human to get the job carried out.

Doane and Nicola are the inventors of Rover, an autonomous robotic that’s not solely able to following golfers across the course but in addition carrying their golf equipment.

The 95-pound, three-wheeled, waterproof unit makes use of wi-fi sensor know-how to shadow golfers’ footsteps as they stroll throughout the course, in keeping with Doane.

Golfers utilizing Rover simply need to clip a small transmitter to their belts and flip a tiny change for the autonomous caddie to comply with them, he stated.

As soon as a connection is established between the transmitter and Rover, the autonomous caddie will comply with the golfer throughout the course, on the similar velocity and at all times four toes behind.

Along with carrying a golfer’s luggage in an upright place, Rover features a private cooler, cup holder, divot restore, sand bottle, charging ports for cellphones, and a pill that transmits course information and retains rating — through GPS.

“We took all of the facilities you may have on a golf cart and included them into the Rover unit,” Doane stated.

Rover is able to following a golfer for greater than 36 holes on a single cost due to its lithium-ion battery, in keeping with Doane.

Constructed with a sturdy aluminum body, the autonomous caddie additionally options huge turf tires, which permit it to roll easily throughout the green or placing inexperienced throughout wet climate with out inflicting harm to the course.

It has been extensively examined on programs and may simply navigate a variety of environments, together with steep hills, tall grasses, and tough terrain, in keeping with Doane.

Doane stated Rover in the end promotes a more healthy life-style and will increase the tempo of play by offering golfers with another method to stroll the course with out having to push or carry their golf equipment.

“It received’t hit the shot for you,” he stated. “However if you wish to stroll the course with out carrying your bag, then that is the product for you.”

Rover additionally supplies a further income stream for golf programs with no threat or funding, in keeping with Doane.

As a substitute of promoting Rover to the general public, Doane and Nicola mortgage their autonomous caddie to golf programs free of charge and permit members to lease it.

Ted Nicola (left) and Tim Doane (proper) are the co-inventors of Rover, an autonomous robotic able to following golfers across the course and carrying their golf equipment. Picture by Will Crooks/Upstate Enterprise Journal.

As soon as a partnership is established with a golf course, the duo present as much as 4 Rover models, together with the correct coaching. Additionally they deal with the each day upkeep and guarantee prices.

Doane and Nicola stated they work with golf programs to set a rental charge for Rover. Charges will differ by course, however golfers can possible count on to pay between $20 and $40 to lease one for 18 holes.

The proceeds are cut up evenly between the course and Rover crew, with $1 greenback from each rental going to both The First Tee, a youth improvement group “introducing the sport of golf and its inherent values to younger folks,” or the LPGA Ladies Golf program, which “focuses on offering girl-friendly environments for juniors to be taught the sport of golf.”  

Doane famous that golf cart leases stay an essential income stream on the programs that supply them. However programs can achieve as much as $10,000 in incremental revenue yearly by advertising and marketing the Rover to members who often stroll. The autonomous caddie also can complement caddies once they’re not accessible.

Rover is at present accessible at greater than a dozen programs nationwide, together with The Cliffs at Mountain Park in Greenville and Torrey Pines Golf Membership in southern California.

Doane and Nicola have additionally partnered with Membership Automotive, one of many world’s largest producers of electrical and gas-powered golf carts and utility automobiles, to increase their advertising and marketing efforts.

Beneath the partnership, every Rover unit is branded with a Membership Automotive insignia and marketed to golf programs beneath the model identify “Tempo Stroll.”

“Tempo Stroll is the right mix of custom and know-how, bringing a brand new golf expertise to the course; one that can excite golfers and supply a enjoyable, wholesome expertise for 18 holes,” stated Mark Wagner, president of Membership Automotive. “The Tempo Stroll additional underscores our dedication to maneuver the sport of golf ahead, notably for the 1000’s of golf programs that entice a big variety of health-conscious walkers and need to generate a brand new income stream for his or her operation.”

The place is Rover? 

Click on on the pins beneath to see which golf programs are utilizing the autonomous caddie.

Doane and Nicola are producing about 50 to 100 Rover models per week from a producing facility in Cincinnati. They hope to increase their presence internationally and finally outfit their autonomous caddie with extra options, together with a variety of applied sciences which can be able to offering well being and efficiency diagnostics for every person.

Doane stated Rover may discover its approach onto a producing flooring someday sooner or later if corporations categorical sufficient curiosity.

“This factor has 1000’s of purposes past the golf course,” he stated. “Consider it as an autonomous sherpa.”

For extra info, go to www.followrover.com.

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