When the two-year-old Indian company Jetsons Robotics began searching for a partner to help design charging stations for their autonomous rooftop solar installation cleaning robots, the Israeli company Powermat was an obvious choice.
While the company had made its name as the designer for wireless charging technologies for consumer electronics, over the past two years the company was shifting its focus to more industrial applications. So it made sense to work with the Indian company on new form factors and applications for its charging technologies.
Indeed, the consumer market that Powermat had hoped to capture had been, by that point, broadly commoditized, so the tech developer needed a new direction.
Cleaning rooftop solar installations can be a costly endeavor, running companies anywhere from $100,000 to $500,000 per year, according to Jetsons Robotics chief executive, Jatin Sharma. The use of robots to replace human labor can save money, but the autonomous solution that the company wanted to build necessitated some kind of wireless charging dock, he said.
Contact-based charging meant too many variables in the outdoor environment, but an inductive charger would be too costly. Until the company worked with Powermat on a solution, Sharma said.
Backed by 100X.VC, Sharma’s robots are already cleaning roughly 1.7 megawatts of solar installations on a daily basis.
For Powermat, the solar cleaning robots are a good test of the company’s new industrial focus, according to chief technology officer Itay Sherman.
“You can look at it like maturation of the market,” Sherman said. “Powermat had been a pioneer in driving wireless technology. This market is maturing and we are moving on to markets where the technology and innovation is important. We have decided to shift our efforts to these emerging markets. Robotics is one, medical devices, IOT, and the automotive market are others.”