TECHNOLOGY

Percepto integrates drones and robots for site inspections

Israel-based drone developer Percepto has launched an autonomous site inspection platform that uses a combination of both drones and mobile all-terrain robots to monitor asset health.

Both vehicles feature Percepto's payloads for high resolution imaging and thermal vision

Both vehicles feature Percepto's payloads for high resolution imaging and thermal vision

Percepto this week raised US$45 million in a Series B round of funding, led by investment firm Koch Disruptive Technologies, that has enabled it to launch the Autonomous Inspection & Monitoring (AIM) platform.

The company says AIM will be able to provide constant monitoring and analysis of industrial sites and other physical work areas largely unattended by people - on the ground and in the air.

The AIM solution uses Percepto's autonomous Sparrow drone for aerial monitoring, while ‘Spot' agile mobile robots, developed by US robotics firm Boston Dynamics - often referred to as robot dogs due their familiar shape - monitor the ground level.

Spot carries Percepto's payloads for high-resolution imaging and thermal vision to detect issues including hot spots on machines or electrical conductors, water and steam leaks around plants and equipment with degraded performance, with the data relayed via AIM.

Any member of staff can request data and Percepto AIM will deploy the most suitable robot independently to retrieve and stream the required data. The platform also reports to assess risk, minimise downtime, drive efficiency and reduce operational costs.

"Combining Percepto's Sparrow drone with Spot creates a unique solution for remote inspection," said Michael Perry, VP of Business Development at Boston Dynamics. "This partnership demonstrates the value of harnessing robotic collaborations and the insurmountable benefits to worker safety and cost savings that robotics can bring to industries that involve hazardous or remote work."

ICL Dead Sea, a potash, mineral and chemicals company, has been using Percepto's drone-in-a-box solution to carry out inspection, safety and security missions at its operations at the Dead Sea site, and were the first to fly beyond the visual line of sight (BVLOS) in Israel.

"With Percepto's AIM, we can now live stream all of our missions and no longer have to be physically present on site to control decisions regarding maintenance and operations. Wherever we are, we know exactly what is happening on site," said Shay Hen, ICL Dead Sea drone programme manager.

"We are looking forward to examining the integration of additional robots such as Boston Dynamics' Spot onto our site for holistic inspection capabilities beyond aerial inspection."

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