Aerones raises $1.6M and drops the drones

Submitted by latban.aivars.sablis on Thu, 06/18/2020 - 23:02

Aerones has raised $1.6M in seed funding to develop a ground-based robotics system for wind turbine maintenance and inspection and expand to the USA, thus pivoting from their previous drone focus.

The startup has finalized the launch of a robotic system for wind turbine inspection and maintenance, based on a patented ground-based winch and robotic arm technology. Successful pilots during 2019 have led to the first robots in commercial deployment in the USA and Europe. This solution replaces Aerones’ well-known heavy-lift industrial drone with a more simple, versatile, and precise solution.

The computerized winch system ensures the robotic arm can perform a range of inspection and maintenance tasks, including close-up photography, laser scanning of the leading edge surface, lightning conductivity tests, blade cleaning, drainage hole cleaning, and the coating of protective materials. The system enables a two-man crew to service multiple turbines every day, even performing some services at night and low in temperatures.

“Technicians who would otherwise hang hundreds of meters in the air manually working on each turbine blade, where safety concerns and weather limit operations, can now operate these inspection and maintenance services from the safety of a van, with controls that are as easy to use as a kid’s gaming console,” says CEO of Aerones Janis Putrams.

VC fund Change Ventures has joined YCombinator and the Sensum Group as investors, alongside angels including Paul Buchheit (creator of Gmail) and Janis Krums, bringing the total seed funding raised to $1.6M.

“In Aerones we see a company that has spent the last two years understanding in detail the challenges faced by the wind energy industry to inspect and maintain the increasing number and size of wind turbine blades. Using these insights they re-invented their initial drone technology to tailor a robot & winch system that is so elegant that it will take the industry by storm. We are excited to back this team with more capital to take this product to customers globally,” says Managing Partner of Change Ventures Andris K. Berzins.

Aerones was founded in 2015 by Dainis Kruze, Janis Putrams, and Andris Dambis. The startup part of the YCombinator class of W18, was a top 3 finalist in the Slush 100 Pitch Competition in 2018 and raised $2.7 million in 2019 from the InnoEnergy investment platform. The startup is known for its heavy-lift drone solution, which was used to perform the world’s first drone jump. Founding team members also built the race car to set a speed record at the Pike’s Peak hill-climb race.

Published from: labsoflatvia.com

 

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