SAN DIEGO — Before the team and the turf tanks get to work, a robot that looks like it’s straight out of Star Wars creates lines throughout the year for all of Snapdragon Stadium.

“It’s San Diego’s front lawn. It’s new, it’s fresh, it’s clean and we’re just striving to make it perfect every game,” said Mike Kerns, Director of Turf and Grounds.

Kerns says the robot is programmed to paint the field at Snapdragon Stadium.

“Whether it’s rugby, whether it’s soccer or football. We also take care of the outside lots that it paints with the 1,700 parking spots,” Kerns said.

The machine is one of 1,200 around the country. It’s a GPS-guided line-marking robot, all controlled by a handheld tablet.

“We’ll create points. So they know the exact distances from goal to goal. Load it on to the screen and we’re ready to go, and it just goes,” Kerns said.

The robots take less time, without taking jobs. Kerns says the job that would take a few crew members several hours to complete, the Turf Tank can finish in an hour or less. It’s a sigh of relief for field crews at Snapdragon.

“We have the ability to be able to concentrate on the little things, and knowing that we have this machine in our toolbox, essentially. It’s a labor saver. I don’t have guys out with nails and string lines most of the time. They appreciate it very much,” Kerns said. 

Kerns says the next step is getting the newest version Turf Tank, to take the next step in creating lines inside Snapdragon.

“Numerous colleges painting their endzone logos with a Turf Tank. It’s just a timesaver. That’s what it is. That’s what we’re looking forward to. The technology of Turk Tank is ever-evolving,” Kerns said.