Biggest funding round so far puts Bristol specialist drone firm on launch pad for further growth

April 21, 2023

Bristol specialist intelligent automation and inspection firm Perceptual Robotics is to expand into North and Latin America and double the size of its team after securing its largest-ever investment.

The £2.7m, which has come from a consortium of investors, is the latest funding for the firm, which uses autonomous drones to help cut the cost of maintaining wind turbines. 

Last year Perceptual Robotics raised £1.6m in a funding round and earlier this year launched operations in South East Asia.

Its previous investment rounds have enabled it to commercialise its products, including the deployment of its DOT drone, its popular self-service offering which customers pilot themselves to perform inspections.

Investors in the latest round were led by Cambridge-based OnePlanetCapital and included L-Stone Capital together with a renewed investment by existing investors Brookstreet, Deeptech Labs, TSP Ventures and Metavallon VC.

As well as benefiting financially, Perceptual Robotics will gain valuable support from OnePlanetCapital’s experience in sustainability, energy, operations and maintenance.

Perceptual Robotics CEO Kostas Karachalios said: “We are thrilled to announce this latest round of funding.

“Not only will the new investment help us grow worldwide, it will also enhance our product offering and further develop and expand our existing products.”

He said Perceptual Robotics had a proud history in inspecting and processing data from wind turbines and blades onshore with trusted partners across Europe and the UK.

“With this latest investment, we look forward to continuing our vital work into offshore inspections and advanced analytics, guaranteeing our customers have everything they need to ensure their assets are delivering time and again,” he added.

Anthony Chant, investment director at OnePlanetCapital, a climate change-focused early-stage venture capital fund, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Perceptual Robotics with its continued growth into new geographies and products.

“An investment by OnePlanetCapital means so much more than just receiving funding. We look forward to providing Perceptual Robotics with the support and counsel it may need in order to continue to turn its dreams into a success.”

Perceptual Robotics was launched in 2016 by Kostas Karachalios, Dimitris Nikolaidis and Kevin Driscoll-Lind – now CEO, chief operating officer and chief technical officer respectively – after they met at the University of Bristol.

Its self-service technology uses drones to collect high-quality wind turbine data in less than 20 minutes.

After landing, an artificial intelligence system automatically processes the images to detect any damage and quickly provides clients with all the information they need to carry out preventive maintenance, dramatically reducing turbine downtime, increasing safety and cutting costs.

Perceptual Robotics also offers data-processing services with artificial intelligence to detect damages in images provided by its customers.

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