This solar plant in Salamanca is controlled by a robot that is also a gardener: Antecursor II



It is an autonomous robot that analyzes the data it collects and sends what it deems appropriate to the central office. It is also capable of clearing the ground.




The development of autonomous robots is something that can revolutionize certain fields because their applications are very broad. We are seeing autonomous systems to repair potholes on roads, the apple picker and the attempted delivery driver in Zaragoza. The one that is already working is the Antecursor II, a fully autonomous robot. It is controlled by satellite and with great autonomy that is working at the Villarino photovoltaic plant in Salamanca.

And the Forerunner II, in addition to being a guardian, cuts the weeds.

It’s not the first. The Antecursor II is a robot created by the Salamanca company Arbórea Intellbird, but as its name indicates, before it there was another model: the Antecursor robot. It was presented two years ago and it was a small autonomous robot with a track system to be able to operate in complicated terrain that was going to ‘work’ at the El Torrao substation.

Its function was to analyze the parameters of each of the station’s systems without the need for a human to be present, sending the data in real time through a 5G network so that the virtual control tower, located in the Science Park of the University of Salamanca, will review the constants. And thanks to this 5G connection, the control team could take control remotely. It was, basically, a data collection robot.

Starlink connection. With the new Antecursor, things change, since it has other tasks. The first thing is that it is operating at full capacity in a photovoltaic plant and its mission is threefold: maintenance, control and search for anomalies in the plant systems. Instead of having a 5G connection, as it is a more complex robot, its connection is through Starlink. It is the first civil robot with this type of connection and it is something that makes it suitable to work anywhere in the world (as long as the system has coverage, of course).

Temperature monitoring. One of the tasks of the Antecursor II is the inspection of the solar panels. This task is usually performed with drones, but for obvious reasons, drone sensors are limited to what they capture from the air. They are effective at finding errors in the upper area of the plates, but not on the inside. What this new robot does is inspect both the upper area (thanks to a mast with sensors at the end), but also the base area that is inaccessible to traditional drones.

This allows you to control the clips, fuse holders, wiring, which are the hottest points and prone to causing a fire if there is an error. It has an AI-powered processing system that catalogs and analyzes data in real time, detects anomalies, evaluates them and reports them to the control center.

Antecursor Ii

Advanced lawn mower. Apart from this control and reporting work, the Antecursor II incorporates a plant floor maintenance system. Basically, in the internal area it has a clearing system “of aerospace design”, according to those responsible, which controls weeds. This is important because poor control of the terrain can cause a fire.

The brushcutter processes the weeds to create a covering cover that prevents the formation of dust so as not to affect the panels and also increases light reflection to maximize the capture of the bifacial panels. Intellbird ensures that this clearing system does not project small stones that can damage the panels, as occurs with other traditional systems such as disc or filament systems, and favors the ‘mulching’ system that allows the land to be fertilized.

24/7. Weighing 285 kilos, the robot has an autonomy of 30 hours thanks to its batteries and the motor, obviously, is also electric. This makes it silent and does not emit smoke or residue. In addition, the company assures that it can also operate at night and it is something that reminds us a lot of those robot lawn mowers that are ideal for the garden (although without the highly advanced sensor system).

It is not the only Arbórea Intellbird toy. Beyond the Antecursor, Arborea has another drone called the Arachnocóptero. It seems like the name of something that Doraemon would take out of his magic pocket, but it is a drone whose mission is to fly over wind farms to detect anomalies. It has a set of high-resolution cameras and electronic measurement equipment. Also it has both civil and military applications thanks to its load capacity, the protection of the propellers and its self-stability system that allows it to operate in wind or heavy rain.

Of course, this drone needs an operator to control it and, definitely, it is not as amazing as the robot guardian of the photovoltaic plant.

Source: Xataka


Iberdrola and Arbórea innovate the management of solar plants with the ‘Antecursor II’ robot

A robot to monitor the solar panels that tours the photovoltaic installations