|

Heliogen Demos AI-powered Robot to Maintain Solar Plants

Heliogen Icarus 400x275

December 9, 2021

Heliogen, which provides AI-enabled concentrated solar power, has announced a new breakthrough in the production of low-cost renewable energy. In field tests at Heliogen’s Lancaster, Calif., facility, the company demonstrated an autonomous field maintenance system. The Installation & Cleaning Autonomous Robot & Utility Station (ICARUS) is expected to reduce the time to deploy Heliogen’s concentrated solar facilities, as well as the costs associated with construction and ongoing maintenance.

The company’s solar facilities employ arrays of mirrored heliostats that require upkeep and cleaning to ensure peak optical performance and a high level of energy generation efficiency. At traditional solar plants, conventional manual cleaning methods can be expansive and labor intensive, and are usually completed once every few months. Heliogen said it designed the ICARUS system, which uses GPS, ultrasonic rangefinders and lidar sensors for a completely autonomous operation, while also collecting performance data to achieve operational and cost efficiency for the entire lifecycle of the mirror field. Heliogen said the ICARUS system can autonomously clean a field of mirrors on a predetermined schedule, keeping the system at peak performance with minimal human intervention required.

In addition, ICARUS can handle structured and unstructured environments, maneuvering through different topographies. The system includes built-in obstacle detection and avoidance, so anything that appears in its path – people, animal or debris – can be recognized and automatically avoided, the company said.

“Heliogen has pioneered the unique combination of hardware and software to drive up performance and drive down the costs of its concentrated solar systems,” said Bill Gross, founder and CEO of Heliogen. “By taking advantage of huge boosts in processing power due to the advances of Moore’s Law, AI, computation and computer vision, Heliogen aims to make solar energy more affordable than ever before. This first technical demonstration of ICARUS is a leap forward in realizing Heliogen’s mission to replace fossil fuels with concentrated sunlight – cost-effectively and at scale.”

The concentrated solar energy system uses AI to precisely align its mirrors with accuracy, delivering carbon-free energy in the form of heat, power, or green hydrogen fuel, Heliogen said. The company said ICARUS is expected to deployed across Heliogen’s full-scale facilities by 2023. 

For more information on the system, visit the Heliogen website here.

Related video:

 

{youtube}_M80FW7WzNc{/youtube}

 


Robotics World News

  • Raise Robotics Raises $2.2M in Seed Round Funding

    Raise Robotics Raises $2.2M in Seed Round Funding

    Raise Robotics, which develops robotic equipment for construction sites, has announced it raised $2.2 million in a pre-seed funding round (reported by Construction Dive). The company is currently providing fenestration and mass timber contractors with semi-autonomous equipment that completes bracket layout, installment and verification four times faster than standard methods. “Our mission at Raise is… Read More…

  • Scythe Robotics Raises $42M for Commercial Autonomous Mower

    Scythe Robotics Raises $42M for Commercial Autonomous Mower

    Colorado-based Scythe Robotics, which develops advanced commercial-grade autonomous systems for professional landscapers, has announced it raised $42 million in Series B funding. The company said it will use the funding to help meet demand for more than 7,500 reservations for its fully electric, fully autonomous M.52 mower. With the latest financing, Scythe Robotics has raised… Read More…


Products for Robots & Cobots

  • Celera Motion Introduces the World’s Smallest Servo Drives

    Celera Motion Introduces the World’s Smallest Servo Drives

    Celera Motion, a business unit of Novanta Inc., announced the launch of two of the world’s smallest servo drives, the Denali Series. Denali is the latest addition to Celera Motion’s line of premium-performance Ingenia servo drives. Denali offers hardware architecture as well as optimized power management, with a minimum standby power consumption of down to 1.2 W. The servo drives… Read More…

  • Heiland Electronics Introduces Mini I/O Connectors for Fast Speeds and Easy Field Installs

    Heiland Electronics Introduces Mini I/O Connectors for Fast Speeds and Easy Field Installs

    Heilind Electronics, a leading global distributor of electronic components and authorized distributor for TE Connectivity, offers the Mini I/O Cat6A connector as part of its full line of TE ethernet products. TE Industrial’s Mini I/O connectors eliminate the need for special tools to create a fast and secure wire-to-wire or wire-to-board connection. The mini I/O… Read More…