Technology and Gadgets

The Emerging Industry of Solar Powered Robots

It seems these days that solar power is becoming more and more an accepted and growing part of our energy infrastructure.  With massive solar installations going up in deserts, Tesla selling solar roof tiles and continued aggressive government rebates and incentives available and the continued lowering cost of solar technology we are only going to see an continued growth in solar power.

The same can be said about the robotics industry.  With every major technology luminary warning about the possibility of humans being wiped out by the robots and AI and nearly every major manufacturing industry using or planning to use robotics, there is no doubt robots are going to be a bit part of our daily lives.

“Robots will be able to do everything better than us” – Elon Musk

We can also see that these two technology paths are starting to merge.   Solar powered and solar charged robots are emerging into the marketplace.  If you search on Amazon for “solar powered robots” you will find a number of kits and cool robots that are driven by the sun.  Thats great for kids but there are also options now for the home and garden.

Solar Powered Lawn Mower
Solar Powered Lawn Mower

You can find a wide array of solar powered robots for your home.  Examples include:

  • Solar powered Pool Skimmer – Keep your pool clean by power of the sun
  • Solar Powered Umbrella – The robot part tracks the sun and also serves as a charging station and a wifi amplifier
  • Solar Powered Weeder – Yep you can have a robot powered by the sun weed your garden.
  • Solar Powered Lawn Mower – Husqvarna has a lawn mower that you can track on your phone while it cuts your lawn.

As solar power becomes cheaper and more ubiquitous the number of robotic moving and whirring by the power of the sun will surely increase.  But solar power and robots aren’t just for home market.  The biggest impact will likely be in industry.  Many robotic researchers believe the key to the robotic revolution will be enabling robots to be mobile via solar power.  No need to constantly recharge or replace batteries.

One example is in the area of security.  SMP Robotics has built an autonomous mobile security robot that is powered via solar.  The robot is built for automated video surveillance and can continuously stay mobile and monitoring.  A team of MIT researches even build a solar powered robot that 3D printed an entire building in 14 hours.    In the Congo there is even a solar powered robot directing traffic.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing implementations of solar power is found on the ocean.  Liquid Robotics’ Wave Rider utilizes the power of the sun and ocean waves to be able to explore unmanned for long durations in places where its to difficult or costly for manned exploration.

It will be fascinating to continue to watch these two industries continue to develop, grow and innovate.  It seems likely that robots will be able to be more effective through utilizing of solar power as a power regeneration source which will also enable them to be more physically independent and productive.

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