Buzz Solutions, a StartX accelerator startup, announced yesterday that it raised $1.2M from Blackhorn Ventures with participation from a syndicate comprising Ulu Ventures, Vodia Ventures, and Advisors.fund to help advance the company’s technology.
Buzz Solutions says that its AI and Machine Vision technology analyzes millions of images of power lines to detect dangerous flaws in the infrastructure, helping utilities to identify problem areas and repair them before a fire starts. The company says that it can do this analysis in a matter of hours or days, compared to the six to eight months it takes utilities now when the work is performed by engineers. The platform aims to save utilities 50% to 70% in costs.
“We believe Buzz Solutions’ AI/ML fueled predictive analytic tools provide transmission line operators a unique, cost-effective, way to identify the full spectrum of potential failures at a higher level of accuracy and operational usefulness than anyone else in the field,” said Mark Loch, Operating Partner, Blackhorn Ventures.
How Buzz Solutions platform works
Every year, power companies collaborate with organizations to capture hundreds of thousands of images of power lines, towers and surrounding vegetation using drones, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Processing these images takes six to eight months and involves linemen and engineers who manually map the data, looking for faults and failures and flagging them for an in-person inspection. During this inspection cycle, a line can go down, igniting a wildfire and mandating forced shutdowns.
The Buzz Solutions platform reviews the grid inspection images captured by these sources which are stored in the cloud. The solution runs the images through algorithms to detect faults on all the major components of transmission and distribution lines. The solution also searches for areas where vegetation may be encroaching on the equipment and posing a fire risk. This AI analysis is done in hours or days. Utilities can then take steps to evaluate flagged images and repair or replace the equipment.
The technology also saves utilities 50% or more in processing costs, according to the company. By finding frayed or broken lines before a fire starts, utilities save lives and property, and billions of dollars annually.
Buzz Solutions also provides a predictive asset management system, using predictive modeling and analytics from an abundance of data to proactively determine where there will likely be faults and high-risk areas in the future.
“There is no doubt that utilities across the country are looking to inspect power lines in faster and more effective ways,” said Vikhyat Chaudhry, Co-founder and CTO, COO, Buzz Solutions. “Our vision is to use innovative technology to safeguard our infrastructure and environment today and help to predict where problems will crop up in the future. This is even more important as we are seriously impacted by climate change.”