Big backing for drone lines
US energy giants have provided millions in funding for an Australian drone start-up.
Australian firm Infravision has reportedly raised $36 million from global energy and utility investors.
The company, founded in 2018 by Cameron Van Der Berg and Chris Cox, offers an innovative system for stringing high-voltage power lines between towers using drones, electric puller tensioners, and software.
Infravision has also secured $3 million in seed capital in 2021 from investors including mining magnate Brian Flannery's family office, Luke Anear (founder of SafetyCulture), and Eytan Lenko (CEO of Boundless).
Their TX System has been utilised by electricity transmission network owner TransGrid and PG&E, as well as being used for power line repairs in the Snowy Mountains and to restore lines over urban areas in San Francisco during the 2023 storm season.
Traditionally, power line work required manual helicopter crews, a method Infravision is changing. It is instead using an electric winch on the ground to support drones with a 50-kilogram payload capacity, helping companies deal with a backlog of over 2000 gigawatts of renewable energy waiting for grid connection.
The recent $36 million funding round was led by Energy Impact Partners (EIP), with participation from major US utility companies like Southern Company, Fortis, Xcel Energy, Duke Energy, and AGL Energy. Norway's Equinor Ventures and Edison International also joined the funding round.