Artificial intelligence-powered disaster management startup AiDash Inc. today announced a $10 million strategic investment from SE Ventures, a global venture fund backed by the multinational energy management firm Schneider Electric SE.
AiDash is the creator of a powerful Disaster and Disruption Management System that’s used by energy and utility firms to forecast storm and wildfire-related outages and damages, so they can get their services back up and running quickly. AiDash’s system, which is powered by AI and a satellite network, is focused on emergency situation management. The platform tracks storms and extreme weather conditions and events in real-time and can predict what kind of damage they and other natural disasters might cause.
In addition, AiDash has created an Intelligent Vegetation Management System that’s used by industrial firms to become more resilient and sustainable.
AiDash says its systems are proving popular with multiple industries, especially the energy, utility and government sectors, as power outages become more frequent across the world. It says natural disasters and freak weather conditions are rapidly intensifying due to climate change, leading to greater demand for more reliable energy infrastructure.
The startup might be onto something, with a recent report from Climate Central showing that 83% of power outages in the U.S. from 2000 to 2021 were caused by weather-related events such as wildfires, tornadoes and hurricanes.
“New data sources enable new best practices, powered by next-generation applications,” said Holger Mueller of Constellation Research Inc. “In this case, AiDash is using space data to rethink disaster management and vegetation management. It’s a great application of space data, and we’ll likely see it being applied many more real-world use cases in future.”
AiDash co-founder and Chief Executive Abhishek Singh said that although extreme weather is an obvious cause of power outages, the natural growth of vegetation is another critical factor in grid resilience. The company’s Intelligent Vegetation Management System can be used to detect and forecast sideline and floor growth, track the efficacy of herbicides, spot hazard trees and other encroachments that might cause a power line to fail, for example.
The CEO explained that Schneider Electric is a natural partner for his company, given that it’s a major player in the energy management industry.
“Schneider Electric has a very robust portfolio of solutions related to grid resiliency and we see particularly strong synergy with their EcoStruxure Grid Asset Advisor offer,” Singh said. “The strategic fit was so great that we didn’t want to wait until our Series C round. Together, we’re even stronger on our mission to modernize electric grids, prevent and minimize natural disaster damage and fight climate change through AI and satellite technology.”
Luis D’Acosta, head of the Digital Grid business at Schneider Electric, said the attraction was mutual given that disaster and vegetation management are pressing challenges for utilities providers across the world. “AiDash has developed a very scalable solution that not only delivers satellite analytics in an automated manner, but also turns those insights into simple, actionable decisions that operations teams can implement,” he said.
AiDash said it will use the funding from today’s investment to enhance its research and development efforts, which are aimed at bolstering its products and services. In addition, AiDash is looking to expand its staff and enter new global markets.
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