“It’s really not about the prize money, it’s just a small incentive,” Ellis said.
SkySpecs was one of 20 teams from 10 Michigan universities that made it to the challenge’s semifinals.
“It’s a real business that can be in the marketplace soon and that fits our criteria of renewable energy and energy saving,” said Norm Rapino, the challenge’s co-director. “They had a cohesive group of people who worked together well and were multidisciplinary. I believe the judges thought this was a venture that was poised for success.”
Although only recently founded, the company has raised $100,000 from private investors and business competitions like the clean energy challenge.
Ellis said production hasn’t started yet and will be small-scale for the first few years.
“We have to prove there is a market segment, paying customers, and a solution that fits their problems,” he said. “…Our target is to be selling 600 units a year by 2017.”
The robot the company is developing will be significantly different from the one the U-M team designed.
“The student team’s vehicle was built for a very particular application,” he said. “We are designing for commercial and industrial applications.”
Ellis estimated the production model will weigh around 11 pounds and cost about $50,000, due largely to its various expensive sensors.
“The vehicle is incorporated with cameras, ultrasonic sensors, thermal sensors,” he said.<< previous 1 2 3 4 next >>