A shot of North America’s first autonomous runway snowplow, Otto at Winnipeg Richardson International Airport (CNW Group/Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.)

Winnipeg airport introduces North America’s first autonomous runway snowplow

Automation may be threatening airport snowplow drivers’ jobs.

Winnipeg Richardson International Airport has unveiled what it said is the first autonomous runway snowplow in North America — “Otto.” The plow is able to clear snow by following predetermined routes and by moving the plow blade at particular locations.

Otto can detect obstacles through sensors and is also equipped with a wireless emergency stop system.

The airport said Otto is now operating in “less complex” areas of the airport, and that the next step will be to get it to plow other places.