Sharper Shape digital twin tech expands with remote sensing acquisition

Sharper Shape digital twin tech expands with remote sensing acquisition
Image: 123rf

Sharper Shape has acquired Ai4 Technologies, a deal that is aimed to bolster their digital twin tech with new remote sensing capabilities for the utilities industry.

Sharper Shape Group, Inc., a powerline inspection solutions and digital twin tech developer, entered into the definitive agreement to acquire Ai4 Technologies, which provides real-time remote sensing technology.

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.”

According to Beaufait, the acquisition will enable Sharper Shape to tap into new technical capabilities to support their digital twin tech: “We are looking forward to incorporating the learnings from Ai4 Technologies to help elevate our current AI (Artificial Intelligence) data processing pipeline.”

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Complementary tech

According to Sharper Shape, Ai4 Technologies’ remote sensing offering is complementary to Sharper Shape’s Living Digital Twin (LDT) technology, which incorporates real-time updates and asset change detection into a traditional 3D digital twin model.

The LDT integrates aerial, ground and third-party asset data into a single software platform whereas Ai4 Technologies’ AI software uses a vehicle-based acquisition platform, which is hoped to add another dimension of data to Sharper Shape’s offerings by enhancing the acquisition data density to over 1000 LiDAR (LIght Detection And Radiation) points per square meter.

Cost and time efficiencies will be improved, with the data acquisition operation only requiring a single person, without the requirement of specific skills. Time-critical applications will also be made more achievable through end-to-end automation.

Tero Heinonen, CEO of Ai4 Technologies, said: “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.”

The acquisition closed on 31 October 2022 and the transaction brought – a Finnish venture capital fund investing in pre-seed start-ups within the energy industry – in as a new shareholder of Sharper Shape.