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Swap Robotics pitches electric grass-cutting robot for solar fields at TC Disrupt
Hannah DeTavis
Swap Robotics CEO Tim Lichti pitches as part of TechCrunch Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt
Swap Robotics CEO Tim Lichti pitches as part of TechCrunch Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt. Source: Haje Kamps/TechCrunch

Swap Robotics, a robotics company in the HAX 2022 cohort, took the stage today at TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield to explain how its electric grass-cutting and snow removal bots are supporting sustainable outdoor work equipment. CEO Tim Lichti lead the pitch at the event based in San Francisco.

The company also announced a new injection of funds from the largest utility-scale solar building company, SOLV Energy, as part of a pre-Series A round. While Swap didn’t disclose the amount of the funding, they did specify that the round will run through October. This recent investment builds on $3M acquired from angel investors and SOSV, and Swap intends to keep the momentum going with a Series A round in 2023.

Swap Robotics recognized a unique vegetation cutting need on solar panel farms, where it can be difficult to cut underneath panels. The robots’ cutting deck are specially designed to clear vegetation beneath these solar panels. Using built-in hydraulics, the company’s robots can switch grass-cutting blades for a snow plow attachment with a “quick swap” system in under five minutes. With this quick swap system, the robots boast near 24/7 operation and can support more than 1,000 pounds.

Swap Robotics
Source: Swap Robotics

“Right now, there are a couple of main challenges when cutting all of the vegetation in solar fields,” Lichti told TechCrunch in an interview. “The way it’s done is unsustainable. It’s done by gasoline or diesel-powered equipment, so there’s obviously a big carbon footprint there. There’s also a high cost from gasoline and diesel itself. The equipment is also going through rough terrain, so there’s a lot of equipment breakdown and costs associated with that. Since what we’re doing is 100% electric, it’s a lot more sustainable. There are also way fewer parts, so it’s not going to break down nearly as often.”