RE2 Robotics takes next step in developing robotic arms to assist solar construction

RE2 Robotics is partnering with mobile elevating work platform manufacturer JLG Industries to advanced the integration of robotics with access equipment for the solar construction industry.

“The future of work is here,” said Jorgen Pedersen, RE2’s president and CEO. “Humans and robots are working more closely together, and the construction industry is no exception. Our developmental partnership with JLG will enable us to apply our proven robotic technology to specific applications, including those that require working at height and repetitive lifting such as solar field construction. We are excited to partner with JLG to bring industry-transforming innovations to the construction market.”

“While JLG has been leveraging and developing robotics in specific areas of our business for quite some time, our focus has shifted to developing and incorporating solutions that integrate with our lifts to help offset labor shortages and provide assistive technologies to a now 5-generation workforce ,” said Frank Nerenhausen, Oshkosh Corporation executive vice president and president, JLG Industries. “The relationship with RE2 allows us to partner with an organization who has the same drive for excellence as JLG, enabling us to accelerate the integration of robotics across our product line to move the access industry forward.”

Development efforts are underway between RE2 and JLG to integrate RE2 Sapien robotic arm technology, along with RE2 Detect and RE2 Intellect software, with a JLG aerial work platform to support the transfer, manipulation, and placement of photovoltaic modules for solar field construction. JLG is supplying engineering support during the technology development phase of the project. Joint work is being completed on the mechanical and control system interface between the robotic arm and the lift.

Skilled workers will supervise the robotic solar field construction system, which uses computer vision to autonomously retrieve solar panels from a delivery vehicle and precisely place the panels onto a racking system. An onsite worker then follows to secure the panel. The RE2 Sapien intelligent robotic arm offers a high strength-to-weight ratio, precise control, and human-like dexterity to place the burden of the heavy lifting on the robotic system. This system is expected to significantly improve productivity and reduce the amount of time required to construct a solar field.

The resulting integration will provide the foundation for the robotic solar field construction system. This effort is in conjunction with RE2’s program with the US Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office to develop a robotic system for the Outdoor Autonomous Manipulation of Photovoltaic Panels.

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