January 18, 2022
Powermat, which develops wireless power solutions, has announced a full-featured wireless charging solution designed for fleets of service robots, including photovoltaic-powered robots that are used for commercial cleaning, delivery, warehouse operations and medical operations tasks.
The company said one of the biggest challenges of using autonomous service robots is that charging them requires a direct connection with a charging station that uses pins or conductive charging. Despite advances in autonomous capabilities, robots with self-charging capabilities still have trouble docking properly, so they don’t charge as expected, Powermat said. This harms operational efficiency, and can result in additional expenses for human intervention and maintenance.
The company said its new wireless charging platform for autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and other commercial robots will eliminate the need for direct contact with pogo-pins entirely, giving operators 90% charging efficiency while enabling flexible charging capabilities. Robots will be able to charge in proximity to their charging station without the need for accurate alignment or direct contact, Powermat said.
The turnkey reference design for SmartInductive-based wireless charging and battery management also includes connectivity features that combine power and in-band data transfer. This feature enables communication between each robot in the fleet and at docking stations, which is required for identification, authentication, and software upgrades. The solution also includes a software-based interface to enable analytics, fleet management and other AI-powered data capabilities.
“For organizations to get the most return on their investment in autonomous solutions, service robots should always be able to complete their task autonomously and recharge quickly without human intervention,” said Elad Dubzinski, CEO of Powermat. “By enabling flexible and efficient wireless charging for commercial robotics, Powermat’s platform essentially offers the last missing piece of the puzzle to enable full robot autonomy. This innovation will help accelerate the global adoption of robots and AMRs, which provide efficiency, safety and cost-saving benefits across industries.”
The Powermat technology supports power transfer over a distance of up to 150 mm between the receiver and transmitter. Powermat said it can easily integrate with existing robots and future products being developed. By leveraging a hybrid approach, the platform “bridges the gap between magnetic induction and resonance and provides higher power levels over longer distances, more spatial freedom, and data transfer over the wireless power link.”
For more details on the Powermat technology, visit its website here.