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Drone inspection for efficiency in renewable energy: Greek Perceptual Robotics raises €1.87M

Greek drone inspection startup Perceptual Robotics with new funding
Image credit: Perceptual Robotics
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Perceptual Robotics, a Greek startup providing autonomous drone inspection for wind turbines, has attracted €1.87M (£1.6M) in new capital. The round is led by cleantech VC TSP Ventures and is joined by impact investment firm Humble Holdings, and previous investor – Athens-based Metavallon.

“We have had growing revenues and this new funding will allow us to increase headcount, continue to mature our groundbreaking technology and drive the scale of our sales and marketing activities on the back of our recent successful programs with clients across Europe,” shares Kostas Karachalios, CEO of Perceptual Robotics.

Along with Dimitris Nikolaidis as COO and Kevin Lind in the role of CTO, he co-founded the company out of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory back in 2016. Since then, Perceptual Robotics has expanded its core operations to Athens and is now carrying out autonomous inspections for some of the largest wind turbine operators in Europe.

Perceptual Robotics uses drones, machine learning algorithms and advanced robotics to deliver fully autonomous inspections of large-scale infrastructure. The first target market is wind turbines industry and the goal – better efficiency to further drive the transition to renewable energy. These inspections are stated to identify and analyse defects with greater consistency, greater reliability and reduce inspection costs with 25-40% when compared to current methods. With the Dalion Inspection Service, Perceptual Robotics provides end-to-end solution covering everything from data acquisition with UAVs, automated data processing going over thousands of images per hour, to user-facing web analytics portal. There are also human blade experts who review the risks identified by the AI, categorise damages and recommend maintenance actions.

AI and drone inspection startups on the rise in Southeast Europe

Given UAVs’ ability to reach environments that are not only difficult for humans but also dangerous, it’s not that surprising that the drone inspection market is estimated to grow several times by 2030, to over €430M in the utility industry and over €28B in total. Such services often go hand in hand with advanced analytics systems, which can save plenty of time, effort, and ultimately money for infrastructure owners.

Perceptual Robotics is not the only startup in Southeast Europe working on autonomous inspection of energy infrastructure. In Bulgaria, Power-Drone has been helping local energy providers with the inspection of power lines – so far covering over 700 kilometers. During one of its projects, the company managed to detect problems that reduced the number of emergency power outages by 86%. Back to Greece, Probotek, one of the leading drone and AI systems integrators in the region, recently announced a partnership with Flying Ship Technologies, to empower unmanned maritime vessels with a system for monitoring and reactive collision avoidance.

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Etien Yovchev is a co-founder and Chief Editor at The Recursive, online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. He has told the stories of over 200 ventures from the region and aims to provide high-quality constructive reporting on the progress of the SEE innovation ecosystem, making sure that the stories of promising local founders reach global audiences. Etien holds a MSc degree in Innovation Management from RSM, Erasmus University Rotterdam and has more than 4 years of experience in the commercialization of new products, having worked with many early-stage companies and a few corporate innovation departments across Bulgaria, The Netherlands, and the USA.