A pitch in time, saves nine(ty-five minutes) as Solihull Council launches new Robot Pitch Marker


Solihull Council is replacing traditional sticks and string with a new Robot Pitch Marker - saving ninety-five minutes per pitch and freeing up staff for other essential work in parks across the borough.

The Robot Pitch Marker is fully autonomous and can paint Solihull’s pitches at the click of a button using virtual mapping software. Traditional methods take around two hours per pitch, but the new robot takes just 25 minutes making the service both more time efficient and more accurate than marking up the pitch manually.

Once programmed, the robot gets on with the task, allowing staff to carry out other essential tasks in the park. The robot uses environmentally friendly ready-mixed paint and is fitted with safety sensors so the robot senses anything – human or animal - in its path and stops. It is also fitted with a tracking device so can be easily tracked and found if taken.

The only thing the robot needs is a name – so children aged 13 years and under are invited to send in suggestions. There’s a £100 gift voucher up for grabs and free pitch or playground marking for the winner’s school or club.

Councillor Ken Hawkins, Solihull Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure, joined the Council’s Environmental Contractors Veolia and their partners idverde in a demonstration of their newest technology. He said: “The new Robot Pitch Marker will save staff a huge amount of time marking out pitches before the new season. We have 36 football and rugby pitches in the borough so all in all we’re saving 57 hours of staff time with this clever bit of kit. That’s time that staff can spend on other important work in our parks across the borough for the benefit of residents, visitors and local wildlife.

“We’d love to give our new robot a name though – so please help by sending in your suggestions.”

Tim McGibbon, Contract Manager for idverde, said: “The Strategic Environment Contract partnership has allowed us to develop a culture that enables us to be agile and open minded to innovation and be part of our everyday thinking. I believe the relationship between Veolia and idverde supports this proactive approach, developing a high performing culture that delivers added value by doing things more effectively. 

“This fantastic piece of equipment is worth its weight in gold for our service; significantly reducing time spent on marking and physically painting on lines, allowing us to channel resources elsewhere.”

Sue Cummine, Contract Manager for Veolia, added: “The relationship between Veolia, idverde and Solihull Council continues to flourish as we work towards our common goals and aspirations for the Solihull Contract and its services. This piece of equipment is the epitome of innovation and efficiency, and a personified example of both, why we chose idverde as our environmental partner on our contract and of our unified approach to technology in all the services we provide.”

To enter the ‘Name the Robot’ competition, children aged 13 and under should submit their entries via a confidential Google Form by 30 September. The winning name will be displayed on the robot and the winner will receive a certificate, a £100 gift voucher. In addition, their school pitch or playground will be marked up by the Robot for free.

The new Robot Pitch Marker has been brought to Solihull by Veolia and idverde as part of the Council’s new Environmental Contract. Over the ten year contract they plan to reinvigorate services with greater use of technology designed to help in delivering the most efficient services possible.