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Percepto to create fleet of robots and drones to monitor industrial sites

Israeli drone maker nabs $45 million investment to equip Boston Dynamics robots with inspection tools developed for its drones

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Percepto, an Israeli maker of drones, is creating a fleet of fully autonomous robots and drones to monitor industrial sites by teaming up with US robot maker Boston Dynamics (Courtesy)
Percepto, an Israeli maker of drones, is creating a fleet of fully autonomous robots and drones to monitor industrial sites by teaming up with US robot maker Boston Dynamics (Courtesy)

Percepto, an Israeli maker of drones, said Wednesday it is launching a new solution that will create a fleet of fully autonomous robots and drones to monitor industrial sites by teaming up with US robot maker Boston Dynamics.

The development of the new solution will be funded by a $45 million strategic investment led by Koch Disruptive Technologies, whose parent company operates numerous industrial sites and is also a customer of Percepto’s services.

As part of the cooperation, Percepto will integrate a solution it originally developed for its Sparrow drone into a Boston Dynamics robot, the Spot. The new Autonomous Inspection & Monitoring (AIM) software and hardware suite is able to work all autonomous vehicles or robots.

This symbiosis between Percepto’s AIM and Boston Dynamics’ Spot robot will allow the dog-like machine to automate inspection rounds completely controlled remotely via the platform, offering high resolution imaging and thermal vision to detect issues including problems on machines or electrical conductors, water and steam leaks around plants, and equipment with degraded performance.

All of the data will be relayed via AIM. The fleet of robots that will work together with Percepto’s drones will provide users with a better picture of what is happening at their facility.

“Combining Percepto’s Sparrow drone with Spot creates a unique solution for remote inspection,” said Michael Perry, VP of Business Development at Boston Dynamics, in a statement. “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.”

KDT was joined by investors US Venture Partners, Spider Capital, Atento Capital, Arkin Holdings, Summit Peak Investments, Delek-US and State of Mind Ventures, bringing the total funds raised by Percepto to $72.5 million.

When needed, Percepto’s AIM solution will know what robot or combination of robots will be most suitable for the job at hand. The robots will then be deployed independently, without the need of human accompaniment, to retrieve and stream the required data. The platform will be able to also assess risk, Percepto said in a statement.

“Our customers, which include some of the world’s leading utility, oil and gas sites, mining and other critical infrastructure facilities, are eager to fully embrace automation across their operations and reap the benefits of driving efficiency, reducing costs and safeguarding staff,” said Dor Abuhasira, CEO and co-founder of Percepto.

Founded in 2014 by Abuhasira, Sagi Blonder, Raviv Raz and Ariel Avitan, Percepto has a development center in Israel’s Modiin and offices in the US and Australia. It employs some 75 workers. Percepto’s solutions are used by Fortune 500 customers in more than 10 countries including Italy’s ENEL, Florida Power and Light and Verizon.

“Percepto AIM addresses a multi-billion-dollar issue for numerous industries and will change the way manufacturing sites are managed,” said Chase Koch, president of Koch Disruptive Technologies, in the statement.

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