Austin’s HUVR Raises $2M to Deploy Drones to Industrial Sites

An Austin, TX, drone company has raised $2 million as it launches its service to help wind, solar, energy, and agriculture companies record and analyze data in industrial sites.

The investment comes from angel investors, including the Central Texas Angel Network, the Houston Angel Network, and the Texas HALO Fund. So far, the company has worked primarily with wind businesses but hopes to now expand to additional sectors.

“Our wind farm inspection packages provide wind farm owners actionable data that can save significant operating expenses and provide this in a way that is much more efficient and cost effective than conventional methods,” says Bob Baughman, HUVR’s co-founder and CEO.

What HUVR does is work with sites like wind farms to do regular turbine assessments in order to identify and diagnose damage such as cracks, bonding problems in layers of fiberglass, or heat fatigue on high temperature components such as flare stacks. The drones’ cameras take both still images and videos and thermal or multi-spectral images of the inspection target.

HUVR sends crews with what Baughman calls a “drone launch and mission control” vehicle to the site. Company drones collect the data after which the crew uploads them to cloud data portals for review. “We identify what our client is interested in and then submit a report along with all of the images back to our client,” he says.

The company says its method is four times as fast as the conventional manual procedures currently used. HUVR received clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration last April. Baughman says he hopes to begin deploying drones in the oil and gas and solar sectors, soon.

HUVR isn’t the only one seeking to make the most of data in photos and videos from devices such as smartphones, GoPro cameras, and drones. Earlier this month, Smartvid.io, which is based in Cambridge, MA, raised $3.4 million for its software. The company is looking to launch beta trials this fall beyond construction companies, which have used the technology to manage video data from project sites and conduct inspections.

 

 

Angela Shah is the editor of Xconomy Texas. She can be reached at ashah@xconomy.com or (214) 793-5763. Follow @angelashah

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