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Sharper Shape enters into agreement to acquire Ai4 Technologies

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Sharper Shape Group, a pioneer in powerline inspection solutions and digital twin technology, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Ai4 Technologies, a leading provider of real-time remote sensing technology, and enhance its offerings to the utility industry.

With the remote sensing market shifting rapidly from having a rigid, project-based approach towards a continuous, flexible service model, Ai4 Technologies’ remote sensing offering is complementary to Sharper Shape’s Living Digital Twin (LDT) technology. The LDT incorporates real-time updates and asset change detection into a traditional 3D digital twin model, integrating aerial, ground, and third-party asset data into a single software platform. Ai4 Technologies’ artificial intelligence software uses a vehicle-based acquisition platform, which can add another dimension of data to Sharper Shape’s offerings by enhancing the acquisition data density to over 1000 LiDAR points per square meter. Cost and time efficiencies are also improved, with the data acquisition operation only requiring a single person, without the requirement of specific skills, meanwhile time-critical applications are made more achievable through the rapid results enabled from end-to-end automation.

Chris Beaufait, CEO of Sharper Shape, commented on the acquisition, “Sharper Shape's automated inspection software is currently in use on transmission and distribution assets globally, with over 6.4 petabytes of data collected from 40,000 linear miles of corridor. This data equates to over 6,000,000 assets inspected and over 50,000,000 detections recorded. The acquisition of Ai4 Technologies enables us to tap into the company’s technical capabilities and similar set of products and services to support our industry-leading digital twin technology and expand into new T&D assets. As a result, we are looking forward to incorporating the learnings from Ai4 Technologies to help elevate our current AI data processing pipeline which increases grid safety, reliability, and carbon emissions. Moreove, we continue to support our customers with best-in-class solutions for intelligent asset management.”

Tero Heinonen, CEO of Ai4 Technologies, added, “Ai4 Technologies has developed a unique, vehicle-based acquisition platform called Ai4 MobileSense. The solution automatically provides LiDAR and imagery, and the acquisition can be targeted flexibly with no lead times, producing rapid results for the user, without compromising accuracy. This automation drastically reduces cost and time to outcome, which is crucial in time-sensitive and mission-critical applications. Ai4 is proud to be joining the Sharper Shape family and to provide unique ground-based acquisition to complement Sharper Shape’s holistic digital twin solutions and other acquisition methods.”

Power utilities face a battle to protect their aging assets whilst continuing to deliver power in a reliable and safe manner to communities. The increasing challenges faced by the grid are forcing utilities to enhance their inspection, maintenance, and risk processes, and are encouraged to look to innovative technologies that utilize the extensive capabilities of data-based asset intelligence and automation.

The acquisition of Ai4 Technologies closed on 31 October 2022 and the transaction brought Grid.vc – a Finnish venture capital fund investing in pre-seed start-ups within the energy industry – in as a new shareholder of Sharper Shape. This deal reflects the continued growth of Sharper Shape, with the technology company continuing to win significant contracts with Tier 1 utilities and expanding its team in Finland and the US with several recent hires, to further support customers’ deployment and use of its solutions across the world.

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