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SNOWsat in detail – the vehicle systems

22 September 2014

With three different vehicle systems, SNOWsat from Kässbohrer Geländefahrzeug AG fulfils the varying demands ski resort operators make of a professional snow and fleet management solution with snow depth measurement.

Alongside optimum slopes, commercial expertise and environmentally responsible business practices are crucial for successful management of a ski resort. This requires comprehensive recording and evaluation of the complex workflows, cost structures and current situation of the ski resort (ski slopes and vehicle fleet). In so doing, you can identify saving potentials and achieve optimisation more effectively.

This article explains the SNOWsat vehicle systems in detail and describes the advantages for the PistenBully driver.

SNOWsat offers three different vehicle systems depending on a ski resort's needs and objectives.

Basic Fleet Management System: SNOWsat Option 1

In the simplest case, the ski resort is only interested in a simple fleet management system, which operators can use to record and evaluate various pieces of information for all the resort's vehicles. The following vehicle data would be of particular interest, for example: position, direction of travel, speed, use of winch/tiller, engine speed and consumption, or even the status of lights and signal tones. A black box records the vehicle data and transmits it wirelessly (via WiFi) to a server in the ski resort. Regardless of vehicle type, this data can be generated either directly via the CAN interface in the vehicle, using analogue or digital signals or using a combination of the two.

Premium Fleet Management System: SNOWsat Option 2

Here the system is expanded with a type of navigation system for the corresponding ski area, which comprises an on-board computer and a touchscreen in the driver's cab. This additional touchscreen provides the driver with all information at a glance. As well as the map of the ski resort, the system also displays information such as current route, slope edges, anchor points, snow-making equipment, lifts, roads and paths, buildings and danger points (cliffs, scarps etc.).

This helps drivers to find their way around the resort even in poor visibility and, thus, facilitates more efficient workflows.

There are almost no limits in terms of map size: SNOWsat covers more than 200 hectares of slopes in one map, regardless of the size of the area to be displayed. Thus, drivers do not have to switch back and forth between different map sections, but rather have a full overview of the entire area.

Fleet and Snow Management System – SNOWsat Option 3

The most convenient option adds a highly accurate snow depth measuring system to the vehicle's touchscreen and black box. It is equipped with professional components for position calculation from Trimble®, which have also been used for years in agriculture, mining and on construction sites. It comprises a professional antenna and a GNSS receiver, which also receives the RTK correction information from the SNOWsat base station, in addition to the GPS, GLONASS and GALILEO satellite signals.

Thanks to the use of Trimble® components, SNOWsat also works with new technologies, such as XFill™. xFill™, which uses a geostationary satellite, guarantees highly accurate snow depth measurement, even if correction data from the base station is temporarily unavailable. In addition to this, the integrated on-board computer uses other sensor data, vehicle data and reference depth information for highly accurate snow depth calculation in real-time.

Snow depth measurement with SNOWsat is effected with a 1-metre resolution grid, achieving extremely high accuracy of up to 3 cm, which is not matched by any other system on the market.

The calculated snow depth is displayed for the driver in real-time on the touchscreen. The on-board computer also creates a snow depth map of the ski resort, which the driver can use to identify at a glance where there is too little snow and where the snow deposits are.

Because it is simple to use, drivers only require a short induction before using SNOWsat for real. Thanks to logical symbols, plus functions and control elements perfectly tailored to need, drivers immediately feel confident with the system.

Alongside PistenBully groomers, the SNOWsat systems can of course be fitted in other vehicles.

Advantages for the driver:

  • security in the event of a claim, as the recorded vehicle data can be used to prove drivers have
    acted properly.
  • Simplified communication between driver and slope manager: tasks can be explained and processed using the ski resort map.
  • Simple orientation in the ski resort, even in poor visibility.
  • Display of the position of other vehicles and the use of winch cables where applicable.
  • Display of current snow depth.
  • Easier to find, follow and clear roads and paths at the end of the season – without damaging the terrain or the machine.

The high saving and optimisation potentials, plus many additional benefits in practice, make SNOWsat a worthwhile investment in the future for any ski resort.

Touchscreen at the driver's seat
Black box to record and transmit vehicle data.
Display showing where the vehicle has already been
GNSS antenna
Vehicle system (GNSS receiver and on-board computer)
Display of the ski resort with current snow depth data (in the driver's cab)
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