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Advanced Systems & Infrastructure

RISE Robotics

Founders & Leadership

Arron Acosta, Blake Sessions, Toomas Sepp, Kyle Dell’Aquila




Enabling the next era of fully electrified heavy machinery.

Heavy machinery moves our world. It lifts the steel for our buildings. It carves roads out of mountains. It plants and harvests our foods. It is powerful, durable, and ubiquitous. While there is tremendous diversity of scale and application within the heavy machinery industry, the lifeblood of the vast majority of these machines is diesel fuel, which, in turn, is needed to run complex and power intensive hydraulic systems. Though relatively long lasting and capable of brute force, these platforms lack fine control and produce 22 lbs of CO2 per gallon of diesel, resulting in 55,000,000 tons of CO2 annually.*

RISE Robotics has invented a replacement for hydraulic systems that will enable the next era of fully electrified heavy machinery — one that is at once sustainable, robust, and precise. The startup’s core technology is an electrically-powered mechanical linear actuator with all the abilities of a hydraulic cylinder but vastly improved efficiency and control. RISE also supplies electrification systems through partnerships with heavy machinery OEMs, helping maximize the impact of its hardware.

The demand for electrically powered heavy machines is rapidly increasing. The industry is already seeing electric and hybrid retrofits of existing hydraulic platforms. But these conversions are grossly inefficient and significantly more expensive than their diesel counterparts. The batteries required to run the current hydraulic systems of heavy machinery are massive, unwieldy, and offer less runtime than the status quo. Some warehouse-scale machinery like forklifts are transitioning to alternative fuels such as hydrogen in an effort to be more sustainable. All of these solutions have shortcomings. The reason? They rely on an intrinsically inefficient system — hydraulics.

Born from their relationship formed while at MIT, founders Arron Acosta and Blake Sessions started RISE to create human-amplifying machines also known as exosuits. These machines give their wearers superhuman motion. But creating an exosuit required a motion component — one that was powerful, lightweight, efficient, and precise — that no linear actuator on the market could provide. RISE had to invent a solution.

The team, with the addition of Toomas Sepp and Kyle Dell’Aquila, discovered that high-strength steel cables in an electrically powered and digitally controlled pulley system offered a powerful combination of efficiency, size, and precision. They quickly realized the potential of their platform stretched far beyond exosuits — with their new linear motion solutions, RISE could help usher in a new era of sustainable heavy machinery.

While its platform is broadly capable, RISE is first targeting the lifting machine market. Think forklifts of every scale (from warehouse to port) and construction lifts. There is significant interest in electrifying these machines in order to meet imminent oil-free and zero-emission mandates.

The evolution of heavy machinery is marked by technological step changes, rather than a gradual optimization of platforms. First, there were large steam-powered, cable driven machines — think of the steam shovel from the classic 1939 children’s book Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. Then there was the transition to diesel and hydraulics, enabling the compact heavy machinery we see today. RISE will lead the next revolution, enabling fleets of fully electric, sustainable, and precise heavy machinery to build the world of tomorrow.

*How much carbon dioxide is produced by burning gasoline and diesel fuel FAQ U.S. Energy Information Administration &
From National Renewable Energy Laboratory Mobile Fluid Power Study Preliminary Results: