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Service robot technology


Research for the benefit of SMEs

PV-SERVITOR-MRU is IP (intellectual property) created by MRU in the EU research project PV-Servitor. The IP generated includes service robot device technology, know-how and two inventions described in European patent applications.

Business case

We license our technology to a network of partners. These partners incorporate our technology along their own to create smart, energy-efficient and low-cost service robots. The design of a service robot requires a large amount of R&D investment and expertise. By researching once and licensing many times, we spread the R&D costs over the whole industry, making service robots cheaper. We endeavour to recover our costs from the licence revenues of each technology, leaving the majority of royalties as profits. Over the medium term, we expect royalties to grow faster than licence revenues, and we expect that revenues will grow faster than costs, making us increasingly profitable.

PV-Servitor Business case mr 2012-09-06.jpg

Project details

Start date: 2009-09-01
End date: 2011-08-31
Duration: 24 months
Project Reference: 232062
Project cost: 1,399,331.49 EUR
Project Funding: 1,118,760.66 EUR
Programme Acronym: FP7-SME
Programme type: Seventh Framework Programme
Subprogramme Area: Co-operative Research (all areas of science and technology)
Contract type: Research for SMEs
Subject index: Coordination, Cooperation, Economic Aspects, Scientific Research, Innovation, Technology Transfer, Policies
Other Indexes: photovoltaic, robot, automated cleaning, servitor, cell inspection, dirt detection

Research and Technological Development performer MRU


The main research and development areas of the Mechatronics Research Unit are as follows:

Robotics and automatisation,
Smart Materials,
Laser und Elektro-optics,
Bio- and Medical-technology.

Technology partners

Technology partners have a license to use specific technologies. Partners for service robot technology resulting from PV-Servitor are:

Logo_Robotnik.gif Logo_Shadow.png


Service device for cleaning and maintenance of a solar panel arrangement (invention no.1)

Advantages of invention no. 1

A particular advantage of invention No. 1 is that the robot does not need brush guide rails at the top and bottom of the module rows. For example, you would save with the invention no. 1 in comparison to rail-mounted brushes for a 6.3 MW plant 28 km of aluminum rails. You might easily figure it out yourself: eg 28 000 modules with 225 W per module, two pieces with a width of 1 m vertically installed above each other, is 14 km. Twice the guide rail (top and bottom) is 28 km rail.

Furthermore, a significant advantage over conventional small round robots that no two-dimensional motion is required, but a 1-dimensional motion is sufficient. It's simple and ingenious, as the complexity of the technology is reduced considerably. Topics such as "movement patterns" can be avoided completely and fully autonomous operation is practically possible. The invention is based on the principle "keep it simple".

The next advantage of the invention no. 1 is the ability to change the angle of the brush. For example, by an oblique position, light snow can be removed from the PV power plant. Also it can automatically detected obstacles and the end of the row by sensors. In the simplest case, the service robot ist activated by a rain sensor, so that additional costs for demineralized water or detergent additives are optional.

Further, the prototype has shown that the robot can hold itself easily without any energy input at various angles of inclination of the modules in a row (tested up to 75 degrees). I.e. it requires no active vacuum for the suction of feet in order to hold itself at an angle. Even passive vacuum is not used. This has the advantage of energy-saving use of a device that is used to optimise the energy yield and therefore should minimise the use of grey energy it needs for itself. A battery failure does not lead to loss of suction, as suction is not required, and thus slippage of the robot with the possibility of total loss can be avoided by the invention.


The first invention regarding service robot device technology was done by:

  • Gareth Monkman, MRU
  • Christian Baar, MRU
  • Arthur Fischer, MRU
  • Stefan Jäger, MRU
  • Sebastian Kilbertus, MRU
  • Adrian Patzak, MRU
  • Michael Schumm, MRU
  • Daniel Treiber, MRU


Manu Systems AG
c/o TechBase
Franz-Mayer-Straße 1
93053 Regensburg / DE

Fachhochschule Regensburg
Seybothstrasse 2
93053 Regensburg / DE

Weblinks and Download

Record at the European Patent Office
European Patent Application
Chinese Patent Application
US Patent Application

Transferring device for transferring a service robot for solar modules (invention no. 5)

The second invention regarding service robot device technology was performed in cooperation between DTI and MRU:


  • Søren Peter Johansen, DTI
  • Gareth Monkman, MRU
  • Michael Schumm, MRU
  • Daniel Treiber, MRU
  • Adrian Patzak, MRU
  • Sebastian Kilbertus, MRU
  • Christian Baar, MRU


Hochschule Regensburg
Prüfeninger Str. 58
93049 Regensburg / DE


Record at the European Patent Office
European Patent Application

Download of published project results

Marco Reichel
FP7-SME-2008-1, Research for SMEs, Capacities project 1st periodic report, PV-Servitor - 232062
Publishable summary
Periodic Report - PV-SERVITOR (Autonomous cleaning robot for large scale photovoltaic power plants in Europe resulting in 5% cost reduction of electricity) - Document Date: 2010-11-09



Product information for: Service robot technology

Publishing date (date of last technical specification): 2012-02-21
Manufacturer: MANU SYSTEMS
Brand: PV-Servitor
Article number: PV-SERVITOR-MRU

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