Velodyne Lidar Inc. yesterday announced a multi-year agreement with Renu Robotics to provide its Puck lidar sensors for Renu's vegetation management systems. Renu Robotics’ Renubot is a fully autonomous, electric mower designed to help solar and energy facilities cut costs, save time, and reduce carbon emissions.
“Velodyne’s Puck sensors provide an essential ingredient for our robotic autonomy and navigation,” said Michael Blanton, chief technical officer at Renu Robotics. “The power-efficient sensors enable the Renubot to deliver an automated vegetation management system that is repetitive and reliable to keep facilities operating at peak performance, while controlling costs.”
Renu Robotics said it is developing innovations in artificial intelligence, situational awareness via sensors and other technology. The San Antonio, Texas-based company said it currently serves the renewable energy industry, but it expects to perform in additional industries in the future.
Renu chooses Puck over other sensors
Renu Robotics selected the Puck after a competitive product review. The company said it found that Velodyne’s Puck offered superior quality, reliability, and performance. It also had significantly less system interference for optimal positional accuracy.
The Renubot uses Puck sensors for safe, precise navigation and to avoid obstacles when conducting utility-scale vegetation management, said Renu Robotics. The mower uses the lidar to navigate the site, along with real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS correction, which enables vehicle positional accuracy within 2 cm (0.78 in.).
Renubot also uses AI and machine learning for autonomous command and control, as well as to learn and assess the topography as it conducts mowing and grooming of facility grounds, Renu said.
“With its sophisticated, sustainable-to-operate autonomous mower, Renu Robotics is revolutionizing the way solar and energy companies conduct vegetation management,” said Laura Wrisley, vice president of North America sales at Velodyne Lidar. “The innovative Renubot demonstrates how Puck sensors power precision and safety in autonomous vehicles, operating without human intervention. Renu Robotics is a prime example of Velodyne delivering on its mission to improve safety and sustainability in communities worldwide.”
Velodyne touts efficiency, affordability
Velodyne Lidar added that its sensors are highly efficient in power consumption, extending the range of Renubot and improving its environmental sustainability.
The San Jose, Calif.-based company noted that its sensors and software meet the needs of autonomous vehicles, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), smart cities, and security.
Velodyne said Puck provides rich 3D computer perception data that allows real-time localization, mapping, object detection, classification and tracking. The compact lidar sensor has a 100-meter range, and its reliability and surround view make it suitable for affordable low-speed autonomy applications, said the company.
The global market for robotic lawn mowers will experience a 11.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2021 and 2031, according to Future Market Insights. The analyst firm noted that North America is the leading market and credited increasing interest in landscaping and reducing emissions for that growth.
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