Aerones announced that it has abandoned its plans to use large industrial drones to clean wind turbines. The turnaround comes as a surprise as Aerones had raised $3.6 million to date and moved its offices from Latvia to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Aerones abandons industrial drones in favor of robotics
Aerones original plans to use large industrial drones to clean wind turbines stem from 2018. However, things change fast in the drone industry and now Aerones pivots to robotics instead of drones. The company will remain active in the wind turbine cleaning business but instead of using drones it now favors a ground-based robotic system, reports TechCrunch. The robotic system makes use of a computerized winch system and a robotic arm and will operate in small fleets of robots.
Aerones describes the new cleaning method as follows:
The computerized winch system ensures the robotic arm can perform a range of inspection and maintenance tasks, including close-up photography, laser scanning of the leading edge surface, lightning conductivity tests, blade cleaning, drainage hole cleaning, and the coating of protective materials. The system enables a two-man crew to service multiple turbines every day, even performing some services at night and low in temperatures.
Aerones claims that the new system is more stable and effective than the original version using unmanned aerial systems. Early pilots have taken place in Europe. The pivot is supported by a new influx of capital. $1.6 million this time from existing investors such as Sensum Group, Change Ventures, YC, and others. The new fans are meant to be used to develop the new robotic system as well as expand the overall business in the US market.
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