By Fang Guo
The use of autonomous robots for polar exploration is not an unheard of subject, but what about a research vehicle that is powered completely with renewable energy? Now that would be something to brag about! Turns out researchers have already started to utilize this impressive combination of technologies.
Meet Polar Rover, the world’s first wind-powered, satellite controlled, autonomous robot that measures 1.8 metres in length, 1.2 metres in height, 1.6 metres in width and weighs 300 kilograms. Exploring Antarctica, it is equipped with an array of scientific hardware — atmospheric sensors, a snow sampler, and geography and geology analyzers. The Urban Green Energy (UGE) vertical axis wind turbine sitting atop the vehicle is certainly the most significant addition to China’s Kunlun Polar Research Team in Antarctica. The compact wind turbine named “HoYi!” is designed and produced by New York City-based distributed renewable energy company UGE. You can install this little wonder just about anywhere, from the Antarctic to marine environments — it is even rated to withstand hurricane force winds!
Polar Rover has been a faithful companion to the team for 58 days; travelling an impressive 2500 kilometers at an average height of 4000 meters above sea level. In addition to completing tasks under cold temperatures, the vehicle is also capable of operating under geomagnetic interference, cosmic rays, polar winds, and other extreme environmental conditions. The use of wind power enables the robot to have long lasting performance while monitoring the environment.
Polar Rover isn’t the first robot to adventure across the Antarctic ice, but its integration with renewable energy demonstrates mankind’s ability to innovate to make the earth a better place. While the Mars Curiosity Rover may be getting all the attention, we think the Polar Rover is quite brilliant as well! Hopefully the Polar Rover’s research into climate change in Antarctica can help us neutralize the causes, before we need to move to Mars!
Founded in 2008, UGE provides the only comprehensive distributed renewable energy solutions with the necessary versatility, durability and energy security to be implemented across the range of harsh environments our enterprise clients face. Solar and wind complement each other and together with storage technologies and remote monitoring systems address their needs at the nexus of energy cost, security and sustainability. We have designed and created the most durable and versatile wind turbine, and are leading the industry in remote monitoring and control and power electronics. In addition, UGE has developed its proprietary site assessment and planning platform, which has allowed it to deploy solutions in over 70 countries around the world from its headquarters in New York.