Specialist drone firm flying high after landing funding to enter new markets

December 16, 2022

Bristol specialist intelligent automation and inspection firm Perceptual Robotics has secured additional funding after completing an award-winning start-up programme.

The firm, which uses autonomous drones to help cut the cost of maintaining wind turbines, showcased its system to more than 100 venture capitalists and key industry guests at an event staged by Deeptech Labs, which has invested an undisclosed amount in the business. 

The gathering marked the end of Perceptual Robotics’ three-month programme at Deeptech Labs, the ground-breaking accelerator programme supporting tech start-ups that are solving a substantial scientific or engineering challenge.

As part of the programme, Deeptech Labs offers multiple workshops such as sales and business development, analysing what makes a high-performance organisation and understanding how businesses can stand out.

It also offered Perceptual Robotics invaluable insight and expertise about how to develop its forward-thinking product for the wind industry and beyond.

Perceptual Robotics, which last year raised £1.6m in a funding round led by environmental technologies backer TSP Ventures, was selected as one of just five companies from thousands of applicants by Cambridge-based Deeptech Labs.

During the programme Perceptual Robotics also gained invaluable practical advice from a network of fellows, expert speakers, entrepreneurs and advisors. 

The firm 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.

They also spent time working in energy, hardware and large-scale software firms.

Perceptual Robotics’ technology map wind turbines before passing the images onto a cloud-based AI (artificial intelligence) system which processes them to detect damage in less than 15 minutes.

It is two thirds cheaper than existing methods of detection – which mostly rely on specialists abseiling down turbines in search of damage – and can reduce the total cost of blade maintenance by up to 30%.

The firm now plans to use its technology, called Dhalion, in other markets.

Perceptual Robotics CEO Kostas Karachalios, pictured at the Deeptech Labs event, said: “We received an amazing welcome from Deeptech Labs and the investors were very keen to hear more about our Dhalion system.

“Each expert was completely focused on our success to ensure we take our inspection and maintenance solution to new clients and markets.

“The valuable insights we have gained from the industry leaders has undoubtedly prepared us for the next stage of scaling our business and will allow us to deliver our game-changing inspection solutions to a wider audience.”

Miles Kirby, CEO of Deeptech Labs – the only deeptech-specific accelerator in Europe – added: “There is an urgent need to develop and invest in the next generation of deeptech companies whose solutions address the fundamental issues that we face as a society.

“Perceptual Robotics has a unique and powerful technological solution that supports the renewable industry world-wide.

“Deeptech Labs is delighted to invest and support Perceptual Robotics which will ensure their growth across multiple sectors in Europe and beyond.”

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