Category: Uncategorized

New Podcast featuring Ben Waters, WiBotic CEO

Check out the latest Power Systems Design podcast featuring WiBotic CEO, Ben Waters, as he describes features and benefits of the new PowerPad Pro. The conversation is led by Jason Lomberg, Editor, North America at PSD and covers the impetus behind the PowerPad Pro and how it’s helping fully automate UAV inspection and delivery operations.

WiBotic Introduces PowerPad Pro, Significantly Enhancing UAV Capabilities for Energy and Utility, Construction, Defense and Agriculture Applications



Seattle, WA | May 04, 2023 09:00 AM, Pacific

Today WiBotic – a Seattle company that specializes in advanced charging and power optimization solutions for the rapidly expanding ecosystem of aerial, mobile, space and industrial robots – introduced PowerPad Pro, a stand-alone platform which can also seamlessly integrate into any existing hangar or other UAV storage facility. PowerPad Pro automatically charges drones without physical connection points, while wirelessly transferring flight data, images and video.

“PowerPad Pro enhances drone functionality for our partners working in environments where autonomous or semi-autonomous operations are a priority,” said Ben Waters, co-founder and CEO, WiBotic. “We designed it as a flexible solution for those who either already own and operate drones – and have their own infrastructure in place – or those who are looking for a more cost-effective option for fully autonomous operations. PowerPad Pro can be used as a stand-alone landing platform, or it can be integrated into any number of enclosures and form-factors such as trailers, sheds, or even truck beds.”

One of WiBotic’s first partners for PowerPad Pro is Valmont Industries Inc., a global leader that provides vital infrastructure and advances agricultural productivity while driving innovation through technology. “Valmont has been working closely with WiBotic and other partners to enhance our drone inspection capabilities,” said Angi Chamberlain, VP of UAS Technology Solutions at Valmont. “For the first time, PowerPad Pro provides a charging platform that works with any of the different UAVs we use. Remote flight plan uploads and automated sensor data downloads also allow us to perform inspections on a moment’s notice at any location where the platform is deployed.”

Wireless Data Transfer:

During battery charging, PowerPad Pro’s wireless data transfer enables UAVs to quickly and easily download flight and sensor data to an industrial computer inside the pad. The data can then be processed locally and/or automatically transmitted to a central location using LTE or long-range data backhaul radios. Using the same wireless data link, remote operators can upload flight plans or monitor flights in real-time, ensuring safe and controlled flights. Without this capability, high-resolution images, video and other data can quickly fill the UAV’s onboard storage. By removing this restriction, PowerPad Pro provides more flexibility and versatility in the missions that UAVs can perform.

Autonomous Charging:

In addition to wireless data transfer, PowerPad Pro also automatically begins wireless battery charging upon landing. This eliminates the need for cables and connectors and allows different sizes and types of UAVs to share a common landing pad platform (or series of platforms) deployed across large areas.

Unlike contact-based charging stations, WiBotic’s patented technology provides power through the air. The pad is fully sealed to the elements, protecting both electronics and mechanical components from dust, debris, rain, insects and other environmental factors that may eventually impact reliability. Programmable voltage and current also helps extend battery lifespan, reducing the need for costly battery replacements and maintenance.

Industry Benefits:

By offering these dual benefits – wireless data transfer coupled with autonomous charging – PowerPad Pro dramatically enhances drone operations across a number of industries:

  • Energy & Utilities: Utility operators need data from infrastructure inspection every day – not once or twice a year. Permanently deployed UAVs with the ability to fly multiple repetitive missions, using one PowerPad Pro or a series of them over long distances, are critical for reducing inspection costs while increasing inspection frequency.
  • Construction: Remotely monitoring construction sites provides innumerable benefits in terms of safety, build quality and owner/builder/subcontractor relations. However, most construction data is extremely high bandwidth and getting it to engineers and project managers at remote locations is extremely difficult without a solution like PowerPad Pro.
  • Defense: Drones are frequently equipped with high-resolution cameras, infrared sensors and other advanced imaging equipment that gather terabytes of data. In a combat zone, however, it’s extremely dangerous to leave a protected vehicle to swap batteries or retrieve the SD cards that contain that data. A fully autonomous platform like PowerPad Pro ensures the warfighter remains protected while he or she gathers intelligence on enemy movements.
  • Agriculture: UAVs have made monitoring thousands of acres of farmland easier than ever before – but that’s not to say it’s easy. Drones still have limited flight time and limited onboard data storage. A network of strategically placed PowerPad Pros solves this problem by providing charging stations across the entire farm and automatic backhaul of data to the farm HQ where it can be put to immediate use.

While these onboard chargers can be integrated into nearly any UAV, Wibotic is pleased to announce BlueHalo as the first partner for PowerPad Pro. The BlueHalo Intense Eye V2 (IE-V2) and E900 models can now be purchased with WiBotic’s PowerPad Pro to support both charging and data offload.

“BlueHalo provides UAVs to both the commercial and defense sectors, with extensive experience in applications ranging from inspection and monitoring to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions,” said Mary Clum, Sector President and Corporate Executive Vice President of BlueHalo. “There is a growing demand for permanently deployed and remotely controlled UAVs. PowerPad Pro has given us a single, reliable tool to integrate autonomous charging and data offload capabilities into our UAV platforms, allowing us to offer new solutions and better support critical customer missions.”

To see a video of PowerPad Pro in action please visit:

PowerPad Pro will also be on display at the upcoming AUVSI Xponential show in Denver, CO May 8-11, 2023.

About WiBotic:

WiBotic provides wireless charging and power optimization solutions for the rapidly growing ecosystem of aerial, mobile and marine robots. Its solutions help companies optimize the uptime of robot fleets and are an integral component of fully autonomous robotic operations. WiBotic works with companies in a variety of industries. For more information, please go to:

Contact Details

Forrest Carman

+1 206-859-3118

Company Website

WiBotic named to the 2023 RBR50!

WiBotic is very proud to announce that today we were named a 2023 RBR50 Award Winner.  This is the second time we’ve received this prestigious honor – this time for our work providing combined wireless power and data solutions to the exploding market for Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (AS/RS). 

As described by WTWH Media, publishers of the Robotics Business Review, “For over a decade, the RBR50 Robotic s Innovation Awards have highlighted the most creative and influential innovations from around the world that have advanced the state of robotics.”   WiBotic has been a leader in wireless power for AMRs since before our first RBR50 Award in 2021.  Our technology has recently been expanded to the AS/RS market where an extremely high number of daily charge/power cycles can damage physical contact points – making wireless power a no-brainer.  The Award also recognizes WiBotic’s work to send and receive control data through the existing wireless power equipment – thus increasing data network reliability while containing costs. 

Thanks to the WTWH editorial board for this amazing honor!

WiBotic Appoints Industry Veteran Brian Crowley as VP Engineering

We’re proud to announce that Brian Crowley is joining the WiBotic executive team as VP Engineering. With the addition of Brian, we’re furthering our commitment to deliver next-generation wireless power and fleet energy management solutions to the robotics industry across a wide range of applications.

Brian is a seasoned technical expert and has held key executive-level engineering positions for nearly two decades.  Prior roles include president & CEO at Alithion, Symbio and BSQUARE as well as engineering leadership positions at Applied Microsystems and several early stage software companies. With his addition to the team, we’re doubling down on our commitment to help customers increase robot fleet productivity while minimizing costs. 

Brian’s expertise will also help augment our partnerships with customers who use:

  • Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) in industries ranging from supply chain to food service to defense.
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in industries ranging from mining, to delivery and logistics, to inspection and beyond. 
  • Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS) that require highly repetitive and ultra-reliable power delivery to a range of internal mechanisms
  • Outer space applications and moon exploration, as part of NASA’s Artemis program.
  • Customized applications for the defense industry, industrial controls, automated  e-commerce systems – and any other application where reliable power delivery is crucial in even the most difficult environments.

We’re thrilled to welcome him as we capitalize on our increasing momentum going into 2023 and beyond. Welcome Brian!

WiBotic Co-Founder Josh Smith elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors

WiBotic in incredibly proud to announce that Josh Smith, PhD, Co-Founder and Advisor to WiBotic, has been elected to the 2021 class of Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors. Currently a Professor at the University of Washington, Mr. Smith holds a joint appointment in the Allen School and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering.

The National Academy of Inventors is comprised of U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutes, with over 4,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 250 institutions worldwide. It’s goal is to recognize and encourage academic inventors who help develop and commercialize technologies that make the world a better place.

Congratulations Josh!

For more information, read the University of Washington’s announcement here.

Join the AFWERX Challenge as a Speaker or Participant

See WiBotic compete with other technology teams at the AFWERX Challenge Feb. 9 to help the Department of Defense become less reliant on fossil fuels, improve Air Force capabilities, and allow for more effective warfighting and humanitarian missions.

AFWERX is finalizing its agenda, speakers, and panelists. If you have anyone in your network that would be a great speaker or panelist, please connect them with Evelyn Sabino. AFWERX’s goal is to connect innovators with as many government leaders as possible to help them make connections, learn how to work with the government, evaluate their technology, etc.

AFWERX brings together some of the top minds in industry, academia and the military to develop innovative, viable solutions to further strengthen the U.S. Air Force. 

See our presentation and apply to speak on Feb. 9.  

WiBotic Selected to Compete in AFWERX Energy Showcase

WiBotic was selected by the United States Air Force as one of 179 participating teams to compete in the AFWERX Challenge. The challenge is centered around six different categories, all designed to uncover opportunities to help the Department of Defense (DoD) become less reliant on fossil fuels, improve Air Force capabilities, and/or allow for more effective warfighting and humanitarian missions.

WiBotic is competing in the Energy Transmission and Distribution Challenge, which strives to identify ways to transport and distribute energy to where it is needed, and improve how the DoD consumes energy. Currently the DoD is the U.S. Government’s largest fossil fuel consumer and the single largest energy consumer globally. Its reliance on fossil fuels is both a paramount combat enabler, and a potentially crippling vulnerability.

Why WiBotic?

WiBotic’s wireless charging solutions greatly enhance the working efficiency of drones, robots and AUVs. As these vehicles become increasingly dependent on battery technology, and shift away from fossil fuels, the demand for autonomous wireless charging has intensified.

WiBotic’s specific benefits, applicable to both AFWERX and wider industry, include:

  • Plug and Play interoperability between departments, agencies and allies. WiBotic’s onboard chargers are fully programmable and transmitter stations are universal, so diverse fleets can share a common charging infrastructure regardless of battery chemistry, voltage or charge current.    
  • Decreased risk of system failure in harsh environments. With contact-based charging, physical electrical contacts must perfectly align, and be impervious to water, dirt, corrosion, and physical damage while being used repeatedly in difficult environmental conditions. Such contacts simply don’t exist today.
  • WiBotic fleet energy management software allows remote visibility into an entire network of transmitters and onboard chargers, optimizing device uptime across the entire organization or battlefield.
  • WiBotic technology lets autonomous devices charge themselves reliably, so robots can focus on their mission.

AFWERX brings together some of the top minds in industry, academia and the military to develop innovative, viable solutions to further strengthen the U.S. Air Force. We’re excited to compete in the program!

WiBotic Joined the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute.

Today WiBotic joined the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute. ARM’s mission is to work with its members to realize the promise of a robust manufacturing innovation ecosystem, by integrating institutional knowledge and a diverse collection of robotic industry best practices for both technology and workforce advancements. ARM focuses on disciplines that span the entire robotic ecosystem, from sensor technologies to software and artificial intelligence to quality control. Of course, battery charging is a critical component for all robot operations, and since WiBotic’s technology is at the leading edge of innovation in that area, we are perfectly positioned to help ARM members optimize power delivery to single robots or across entire fleets.

Our membership in ARM is particularly exciting, as WiBotic has an acute interest in supporting the American manufacturing sector. Domestic manufacturing and strong national defense are deeply interconnected, yet more than 63,000 U.S. factories have closed since 2001. This is a trend we’re committed to reversing.

We’re also excited about the workforce development aspects of ARM. Their funding of programs like apprenticeships and career pathways identify skills gaps in the manufacturing workforce and give students, job seekers and incumbent workers knowledge of and access to essential skills to continue technical training. These efforts provide a material benefit to industry directly, and by extension, enable us to foster the very best talent to grow our team.

We’re excited to join ARM and we look forward to partnering towards these shared objectives.

WiBotic Unlocks New Capabilities with Rev 13 Firmware

WiBotic has released a new version of firmware and the Control Panel software used to monitor and configure our wireless power hardware. This new version, Revision 13, makes the system easier to configure and use, and includes the following important new features:

  • Common Names for Transmitters and Onboard Chargers: The feature improves the ability to monitor individual robots and transmitters by assigning them common names, such as “Aisle 4 TR”, “Pallet Robot 2”, or “Rosie” or “Optimus Prime” – whatever you’d like!
  • Power Supply Mode – This feature configures the system to operate as a current-limited constant-voltage DC power supply for certain applications. It disables settings that are specific to battery charging, allowing for uninterrupted DC power output.  This feature is particularly useful for robots that already have an onboard battery charger or for applications that need a fixed voltage input and can benefit from the seamless operation of a wireless supply instead of a tethered or benchtop supply. Unlike benchtop power supplies, wireless power supplies require that the load current ramps up gradually, or the system will voltage limit. It is therefore important to consider how quickly the load consumes power when using this feature.
  • High Temperature Charging: The new firmware also addresses a top safety concern for robot operators, safe battery charging at high ambient temperatures. New high-temperature charging safeguards keep the system from charging a battery if the OC senses the ambient temperature is greater than 45C – the maximum safe charging temperature for most Lithium battery chemistries. This feature can be disabled by the operator in situations where the OC is in a different location than the battery.

Additional “behind the scenes” improvements with the firmware include more rapid and reliable reading and writing of log files to the transmitter’s SD card; logging of additional metadata related to the charge cycle; and radio communication improvements between the transmitter and OC for better communications reliability.

Customers can take advantage of these updates today by navigating to the “Update” menu in the WiBotic Control Panel and clicking on the “Check for Updates” button. 

WiBotic Wireless Charger Now Compatible with New NVIDIA Jetson Modules

WiBotic is pleased to announce the availability of a CAN Bus communications link between our Onboard Chargers and NVIDIA’s newest processors for robotics applications.

NVIDIA® Jetson AGX Xavier™ sets a new bar for compute density, energy efficiency, and AI inferencing capabilities on edge devices, and Jetson Xavier™ NX brings supercomputer performance to the edge in a small form factor system-on-module (SOM). For this reason, Jetson has become an extremely popular platform for sensor-intensive robot navigation and control, synthesizing data and responding to environmental factors with blazing speed. 

When it comes to battery charging, though, most robot controllers just aren’t that smart. Blindly returning to the charging station when the battery runs low, robots simply accept whatever voltage and current the charging dock provides. This process happens over and over, cycle after cycle, with little regard for how charging is affecting the battery or the efficiency of the entire robot fleet. You could say it’s like eating the same food at every meal, for life. Boring, and not particularly healthy.

WiBotic changes that paradigm with intelligent wireless charging hardware and Fleet Energy Management software that charges batteries intelligently to maximize both battery life and robot fleet uptime. 

For instance, most chargers are hard-wired to reach 100% State of Charge (SOC) at the end of each cycle. They often do this by sending as much current as possible regardless of the battery’s age or condition. This type of “traditional” charging might be OK if the robot must return to service right away, but it’s a recipe for quickly degraded batteries and high battery replacement costs, especially where large fleets of robots are deployed.

In contrast, WiBotic’s intelligent chargers are designed to communicate directly with the robot controller to make better charging decisions.  For instance, if the robot naturally pauses during the workday, why not take those opportunities to find the nearest charger for a quick top-off? If you have all night to charge, why degrade the battery by blasting it with the maximum charge current? And if your robots are already operating all day on a single charge, why not experiment with an 80% or 90% max charge level? You’ll still complete the necessary work but may get hundreds more charge cycles from the same batteries.

With CAN Bus support built into NVIDIA® Jetson AGX Xavier™ and Xavier NX™, and a wide range of available carrier boards for simple hardware integration, we knew it would be easy to implement the above features – and it was! WiBotic also offers (ROS) drivers and a powerful Onboard API to make the integration process even simpler. 

In short, once communication between Xavier and the WiBotic Onboard Charger is established, operators can finally make intelligent charging decisions to maximize productivity from each robot. Apply these capabilities across a fleet of 10s or 100s of robots and now you’re talking real Fleet Energy Management

Contact us if you’d like to learn more. We’re always happy to help customers put their robots on a more balanced diet!