Swedish startup Skyqraft which carries out inspections of power lines using drones and AI has picked up a huge $505K in early backing funding from Antler, a startup investor, and several business angels, among them Claes Ekström and Tomas Kåberger.
Launched in September 2019, having been founded in March, Skyqraft uses smart technology to gather images of power lines and using machine learning to detect risks.
This means a move away from the traditional methods, removing some of the safety concerns inherent with the use of helicopters, equipment and staff.
The use of drones also has a positive environmental impact by reducing the carbon footprint of testing procedures.
Skyqraft says the company can provide inspections using drones which collect images and 360 videos. The data is then fed into a computer and machine learning will detect any risk or problems on the power lines.
Skyqraft has already secured a contract with a company which has replaced annual helicopter and human inspections with their technology.
They are now working with Eon, New York Gas and Electric and two Swedish municipalities to pilot their smart inspections with a view to future contracts.
The main competition for Skyqraft comes in the form of quad-copter drone operators who are currently employed to inspect transmission grids.
However, Skyqraft’s CMO and co-founder Sakina Turbali believes that Skyqraft goes above and beyond for customers by inspecting not only the transmission but also distribution grids and by using AI to automatically detect risk.
While the company’s competitors will obtain data from their partners' drones and provide only machine learning systems to the client Skyqraft will ensure they collect, handle and assess the data by incorporating these capabilities into their system.
This means they have complete control from the outside, with aircraft and cameras combining to allow streamlined data handling and analysis.
Skyqraft intends to use the $505K to develop the machine learning software and expanding its user interface alongside continuing to test new equipment and increase its team of drone operators.
Skyqraft has provided an innovative new solution to the problem of power-line testing by focusing on data collection methods. This has the potential to make the industry safer for its workforce, more efficient, and increase sustainability.