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Autonomous line-marking comes to Waterford for World Games

Intelligent Marking Ireland's Micheal Nolan and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) Arena's David Grant pictured with Intelligent Marking Denmark’s Stefan Thilemann, and the "Intelligent One" robot. Photo: Patrick Browne.

Lining seven pitches from scratch, some of them on Astro, and getting all of the markings and specifications perfect would have taken the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) Arena team approximately one week to do, however with Intelligent Marking's Intelligent One robot, the task was done in less than a day.

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Sports & Parks

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30 July 2019 | 0

The manual lining of pitches, running tracks, courts, and other playing surfaces by a human could very quickly become a thing of the past as Intelligent Marking’s robot “lntelligent One”, precision-lined seven pitches ahead of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) World Games currently taking place at the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) Sports Campus.

This is the first time ever that playing pitches in Ireland have been marked using the Intelligent Marking robot, and it has resulted in significant time-savings for WIT’s groundskeepers.

“It typically takes two people between three and five hours to initially mark a GAA pitch. Our technology did it in less than an hour.”, said Mícheál Nolan of Intelligent Marking Ireland.

Nolan continued: “The pitches for the World Games are only 100 metres long, as opposed to the normal 140-150 metres GAA spec (sic). There are no 45 metre or 65 metre lines and the centre line required for the World Games is the full pitch width. There’s also a dotted line across the D-marking for World Games matches.

“Lining seven pitches from scratch, some of them on Astro, and getting all of the markings and specs (sic) perfect would have taken the WIT Arena team approximately a week. It would have been a nightmare and would have held up the entire grounds staff.

“Setting the system up and inserting the required programme onto the tablet and lining the entire WIT Arena campus took only a few hours. We walked away for the rest of the day and let the robot do its job.

“We custom-built the layouts very quickly for this landmark event. Lining pitches with a robot is a first for Waterford and a first for the GAA, and we are privileged to be supporting the preparations for such a fantastic event. Our system is available to buy or lease over a five-year term and qualifies under the Sports Capital Grant programme.”, Nolan said.

WIT Arena’s David Grant said: “It is an honour and a privilege for us to host the World Games. We’ve put months of work into ensuring every playing surface, every blade of grass is just right. It would have taken our team up to a week to mark the pitches. The Intelligent Marking Ireland system had everything done in a day.

“The lines and the various markings aren’t just right; they are absolutely spot on. There are big plans for the WIT Arena and we’re planning on investing in our own Intelligent Marking robot so we can focus our attention on other work while it marks the required lines on the various playing surfaces for us into the future.”

Intelligent Marking

Headquartered in Denmark, Intelligent Marking is the developer of autonomous line marking robot, Intelligent One, which is pre-programmed and uses a Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) sub-station and a tablet device. The Intelligent One model used in Waterford uses patented technology that allows the robot to line any pitch with sub-centimetre accuracy.

The autonomous system frees ground staff to do other work and can operate in all weather conditions – including in the dark. Intelligent One is able to quickly go from one pitch layout to another at the push of a button.

Intelligent Marking’s chief technology officer (CTO), Stefan Thilemann, who was brought to Waterford to oversee the line-marking of the WIT Arena pitches, said the system is being used by sports grounds across the globe: “It’s pre-programmed for at least 50 different field lay-outs but we’re increasing this offering all the time. It’s simple to use while allowing users to customise the layout exactly according to their needs.

“It weighs just 60kg, takes up no more space than a typical push mower, and is easy transportable in a normal van or estate car. It can even be driven up ramps for easier transport. Being a company that has always focused on making line marking a more manageable and enjoyable task by employing state-of-the-art technologies, it is very rewarding getting feedback on the system as customers acknowledge the burden the system is taking away from them, making them much more effective.”

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