mCloud Technologies (MCLD.V) AI tech puts the wind to the back of renewable energy

AI
02/10/2020

mCloud Technologies (MCLD.V) announced its intention to acquire technologies from Boston-based artificial intelligence (AI) visual inspection and monitoring tech provider, AirFusion, today.

AirFusion’s design uses something called the Newton Engine, which uses patent-pending AI to identify and classify damage from images of wind turbine blades, which are embedded into the company’s AssetCare platform.

“AirFusion’s AI-derived results from wind turbine blade images are the best we have seen, reducing processing times by over 90% without compromising high accuracy. This acquisition in combination with AssetCare gives mCloud a serious competitive edge over other wind blade inspection providers,” said Dave Weinerth, mCloud’s president of Smart Energy.

Included in the package are AirFusion’s european subsidiary AirFusion GmbH, existing customers and technologies under development from its partner in Warsaw, Poland.

Underlying all of this is the ongoing political conversation pitting renewable energy against traditional fossil fuels. Canada is a fossil fuel country. The majority of our economy is lying in muddy patches in Alberta, being extracted using methods that aren’t exactly environmentally friendly, and then transported across the country to ports, and shot through pipelines to distant places in exchange for payment. It’s the leading cause for political strife, as municipalities and First Nations bands are stood up in continual opposition to the inevitable environmental catastrophe that’s going to come about as a result of transporting this substance.

But oil has a lot more political influence than the alternatives—wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric—and it will leverage its advantage to push these emerging technologies to the periphery until they can successfully co-opt them into their business models. One of the ways they do this is through the time honoured tradition of the media whisper campaign, in which they thread the narrative with how wasteful or dangerous these nascent technologies have proven to be.

Regardless of the veracity of these claims, it represents a significant opportunity for a company like mCloud, which can leverage its AI-fueled imaging system to detect and classify damage long before it can threaten the integrity of the system. Their cloud-hosted AI-based software provides technically advanced tools so their customers can get highly accurate results from inspection data, while reducing the financial and time-cost spent per report.

It uploads high resolution sensor data from UAVs (drones)(, or ground based imagery to AirFusion Wind, hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud. The data is processed using their optimized AI-based machine learning system and provides nearly real-time inspection analysis.

Efficiencies include:

  • Using AI-based machine learning, accuracy is increased while analyst time is reduced by upwards of 95%.
  • Patent-pending sensor fusion technology and AI platform leverages hundreds of thousands of AI training images, specialized heuristics and deep learning techniques from wind experts around the world.
  • AirFusion automatically removes images that don’t contain defects, freeing analysts to focus on classification and mitigation.

AirFusion’s aim is the standardization of digital data records and digital twinning. Their platform is geared to infrastructure markets in wind, telecommunications, energy transmission, oil and gas and transportation. They have invested millions in designing the completely customizable platform using their patented Fusion Cell technology and a portfolio of intellectual property focused on solving the problems surrounding damage detection and classification across a variety of sectors.

The company started deployment in 2019, and now full production is expected with AssetCare wind customers in Q1 2020. mCloud intends to integrate the Newton Engine and deliver new AssetCare solutions combining both drone inspection and AI across all of mCloud’s business lines, especially those connected to oil and gas customers, throughout 2020. The company anticipates converting up to $1.2 million in current engagements into full AssetCare recurring revenue customers this year.

“We are excited about extending AssetCare’s AI capabilities to drive new value for mCloud customers. For wind farm operators, the combination of mCloud’s asset performance management with the AirFusion AI driven technologies that digest and analyze blade damage images, enables the optimal production of wind energy,” said Edward Mier-Jedrzejowicz, AirFusion’s CEO.

This gels with mCloud’s stated goal of creating a more efficient future using AI and analytics, reducing energy waste, and maximizing energy production, all while getting the most out of critical energy infrastructure.

—Joseph Morton

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